WHO WE ARE
CASA advocates for children in our community.
Maury County children who have experienced abuse or neglect need an advocate.
Our mission is to provide that voice for every child who needs one.
Average number of calls to report abuse/neglect received by the TN DCS hotline in FY 2019
Estimated value of time donated by CASA of Maury County volunteers in 2019
Percentage of CASA recommendations implemented by the Maury Co. Court in 2019
WHAT IS A CASA VOLUNTEER?
CASA stands for “Court Appointed Special Advocate.” A CASA is an everyday citizen that juvenile court judges appoint to advocate for the well-being of children who, through no fault of their own, are victims of abuse or neglect. As as CASA, you speak up for the best interests of the child and are ‘their voice’ before the court.
DO I NEED LEGAL EXPERIENCE TO VOLUNTEER?
CASA volunteers do not have to be lawyers or social workers. Our volunteers are a diverse group of community members with a basic desire to help abused and neglected children. CASA volunteers receive 30 plus hours of training and go through an extensive background check along with several personal references before being sworn in by the Juvenile Court Judge. When a CASA volunteer is assigned to a case, they have the complete support of CASA of Maury County’s professional staff.
WHAT CHILDREN ARE ASSIGNED TO CASA VOLUNTEERS?
Children served by CASA have been removed from their homes or are at risk of being removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect. These children have come to the attention of the juvenile court through no fault of their own.
WHAT WORK DOES A CASA VOLUNTEER DO?
A CASA’s role is to review the information related to the child and parents, assess the individual needs, develop a relationship with the child through monthly visits, collaborate with the team of professionals involved in the case (social workers, caregivers, teachers, attorneys), submit court reports, attend court hearings, and generally advocate for the child’s best interests.
HOW DOES THE ROLE OF A CASA VOLUNTEER DIFFER FROM AN ATTORNEY?
The CASA volunteer does not provide legal representation or advice. Instead, the CASA provides crucial background information that assists attorneys in presenting their cases. In Tennessee, children who come into foster care as a result of abuse or neglect will have an attorney called a guardian ad litem (GAL) who is appointed by the court to represent the child’s best interests. The CASA works with the guardian ad litem (GAL), as well as other participants in the case, in accordance with Tennessee Code Annotated 37-1-149.
HOW DOES A CASA’S ROLE DIFFER FROM A SOCIAL WORKER OR DCS?
Social workers generally are employed by the state and are working many cases at one time. In Tennessee, social workers involved in CASA cases work for the Department of Children’s Services (DCS). Whereas the DCS Worker may carry up to 20 cases at a time, the CASA volunteers averages 1-2 cases and has more time to devote to the details of the individual case. CASAs thoroughly examine the child’s case, have knowledge of the community resources available, and make recommendations to the court through their court report. CASAs do not provide direct services, like transportation for supervised visits, but they can assist families in locating these resources. The CASA volunteers never replaces the social worker; rather, they are an independent appointee of the court as authorized by T.C.A. 37-1-149.
ARE THERE OTHER GROUPS PROVIDING THIS SERVICE?
No. While other groups advocate for the interests of children, CASA is the only program where volunteers are appointed by the court to represent the best interests of an abused or neglected child.
HOW CAN I BECOME A VOLUNTEER?
New volunteers submit an application, visit with a staff member to learn more, and complete 30 hours of pre-service training, including an extensive background check, before being sworn in by the juvenile court judge as a CASA advocate.
We need people like you.
More advocates are needed to serve all the children in Maury County who need one. Most CASA volunteers have no experience with law or social work: they’re just people like you who care about children and families in our community.