CASA advocates make a difference! New Jersey State Judges weigh in on the CASA of New Jersey program and The National CASA/GAL Association for Children provides significant facts regarding the important role of the CASA advocate.
CASA of New Jersey recently asked CIC (Children in Court) Judges and any other judges who may have presided over CIC cases in the past 5 years to participate in a survey designed to elicit their satisfaction with the CASA of New Jersey program and the many CASA volunteers who serve the Family Courts and children throughout our state. According to Glen A. Grant, J.A.D, Acting Administrative Director of the Courts, New Jersey Courts, after a careful examination of the results, it was determined that “judges regard CASA volunteers as playing a positive role in CIC cases and that, overall, judges are satisfied with the CASA programs.”
Fifty-five judges participated in this survey. Individual judges were not identified in the results shared with CASA of New Jersey. When asked to describe their relationships with CASA advocates, 83% of the judges responded, “very good,” the highest rating offered. When asked to describe their level of satisfaction with their local CASA advocates, 82% responded, “extremely satisfied,” once again, the highest rating offered. When asked to describe factors that contribute to their level of satisfaction in an open-ended format, some answers were as follows: CASA advocates provide “insight, perspective and a wealth of information not otherwise available,” and CASA advocates are “accessible, knowledgeable,” and have a “genuine concern for the children.” CASA advocates are “dedicated, go above and beyond mere advocacy,” have “hearts for service,” and “are very dedicated and hard working.” One judge opined, “I have a great deal of admiration for CASA volunteers.” Another judge noted that “we need more volunteers. I would like to see every child in placement have a CASA.”
This past summer, The National CASA/GAL Association for Children, after compiling many independent academic studies to evaluate the effectiveness of best interest advocacy and the CASA/GAL network, shared some interesting results regarding the important role of the CASA advocate:
- A child with a CASA has significantly less placements than a child without a CASA.
- A child with a CASA is significantly less likely to reenter the child welfare system, in fact, the proportion of reentries is reduced by half.
- When a child is appointed a CASA a higher number of services are ordered.
- A child with a CASA is more likely to have better outcomes.
These are significant results that solidify our belief that we are making a difference in the lives of children here in the State of New Jersey.
We are Changing a Child’s Story, each and every day.