Court Appointed Special Advocates (C.A.S.A.'s) Speak for Foster Children in Court - 8 News NOW

Court Appointed Special Advocates (C.A.S.A.'s) Speak for Foster Children in Court

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Mention "casa" in this town, and people think you're referring to the Spanish word for "house". 

But C.A.S.A. also stands for "Court Appointed Special Advocate".   In short -- a compassionate volunteer who is the voice of foster children in court.

"No, he's a great guy to be around, he's really is fun," says Kimberly, the CASA worker assigned to Tyler, a foster child we featured on Wednesday's Child back in April.

We almost always have someone speak for the child on our Wednesday's Child segment.   Back in April, we featured Tyler at the Las Vegas Speedway, and his "CASA", whose name is Kimberly, was there to explain his situation.

"He's in an individual foster home, which he's also been in since NHovember, and doing extraordinarily well in it," Kimberly told us.

For guys like Tyler, the CASA volunteer assigned to their case is sometimes the only consistent adult relationship they have during a difficult time -- a time when trust is hard to come by.

"We are looking for somebody who can be dedicated to a child and continue to advocate for their best interests," says Cheryl Meyer, a volunteer coordinator for the CASA program in Las Vegas.

Cheryl Meyer is one of the few employees of CASA, a family-court-funded program.   She says despite it's importance to the county's foster children, CASA one of the best-kept secrets in town.

"CASA is an outstanding program, what we're finding is people don't generally know it exists... And when they do find out it exists, they want to be come involved," says Cheryl. 

But becoming a CASA volunteer means passing a screening process, and taking 40 hours of orientation classes.

"We dont' take just anybody, we're very particular about who we accept into the program...we want somebody who's going to be dedicated, somebody who wants to save the world, and works in the best interests of the children....that's terrific, but they also need to have realistic goals... Same two years into the system as when they start," explains Meyer.

In that sense, Kimberly has been the perfect person to stabilize Tyler's life right now.

Dave asks:  "Why were you assigned to him?" Uh, time in the system, he's been moved around too many times...he's got some special needs, and so with a casa assigned, you can make sure those needs are addressed," explains Kimberly.

This year is CASA's 30th year anniversary nationwide.   Las Vegas' office was the 3rd one to be established across the country.   They have 200 volunteers serving 500 kids, but there are some 3000 foster children in the system, so you could understand why they need new volunteers.
Here's the number to call at C.A.S.A. 702-455-4306.

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