CASA Project Worcester County
The Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Project Worcester County is a nonprofit organization committed to speaking for the best interests of abused and neglected children in the Worcester County Courts. CASA Project Worcester County, a member of the National CASA Association, recruits, screens, and trains community volunteers to become Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). Appointed by judges to help on the most heart-breaking cases in the foster care system, CASAs help abused and neglected children navigate the Worcester County Juvenile Courts, one child or sibling group at a time. CASAs report the best interests of the children to the judge, who uses the reports in their evaluation and decision on each case.
Newly Revised Mission & Vision Statements
CASA advocates for the best interests of abused, neglected, and vulnerable children, amplifies their voice in court, and supports them on their paths toward a permanent home.
All vulnerable children referred by the Worcester County courts will receive the services and support of a CASA Advocate to help them maximize growth and minimize harm, enabling them to thrive in a safe, healthy, and stable environment.
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice Statement
At CASA, diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ) is an integral part of our values and mission. We recognize, affirm, and celebrate the diverse backgrounds, lives, and experiences of our children, families, volunteers, staff, board, and community partners. We strive to realize the full potential that is within all of us by ensuring that all voices and perspectives are heard, acknowledged, and honored.
On an average day in Worcester County, MA, 1,700 abused, neglected, or exploited children live in foster care because they cannot live safely at home. All of the children are victims and need a voice to ensure they grow up in a safe and permanent home. Nearly 800 children are placed into our juvenile court system each year to receive the help they need. Most of these children are younger than 12 years of age – with nearly half under 6 years old – and all are hurt, frightened, and confused. The CASA Volunteers on each case provide a small sense of stability and trust for these children.
Since its founding in 1981, CASA Project Worcester County, has provided thousands of children with the voices they need in court. CASA Project Worcester County’s Court Advocacy Program recruits, trains, and supervises volunteers (CASAs) who are appointed by a judge to serve one child or sibling group at a time. As a result, these children have grown up with a safe home, a sense of hope, and a bright future.
In 2020, CASA advocates served nearly 700 children. These dedicated volunteers gave 15-20 hours of their time each month to advocate for children. CASA Volunteers serve in all five sessions of the Worcester Juvenile Court: Leominster, Fitchburg, Worcester, Milford, and Dudley. The organization strives to match volunteers with cases suited to their interests, background, and location.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CASA Project Worcester County has shifted its focus to ensuring equitable education opportunities for the children we serve. The court system is stretched thinner and more backed up than ever before, leaving the CASA children without much assurance for what is to come. CASAs continue to work tirelessly to ensure the best care and support is provided to children in foster care.
What CASA Project Worcester County Does
CASA Volunteers perform three essential functions to assist the Juvenile Court judges in making the best determination for each child or sibling group:
- CASA Volunteers investigate and fact-find, helping the judge learn the nuances of each child’s prospective caregiver situations.
- CASA Volunteers advocate for any medical, mental health, and educational services a child may need while the Care and Protection petition is open.
- CASA Volunteers monitor case progress to promote the safety of the child and to obtain a swift and effective resolution of each case: a safe and permanent home as quickly as possible.
Interested in Joining?
We desperately need your help to reach our goal of serving every child in Worcester County involved in a Care and Protection petition by the year 2021. Every donation counts and helps us to make a very real difference in a child’s life.
Monetary donations are greatly appreciated, but so are donations of your time! Becoming a CASA Volunteer is not only rewarding, but it also creates significant and positive change for children in the foster care system.
Please help care for our Worcester County children for whom few things in life have gone right. Volunteer your time and donate your resources. You will give a child a voice, a home, a hope, and a future.
CASA Project Worcester County gratefully acknowledges support given by The United Way, our Corporate and Foundation supporters, and hundreds of generous individuals. Thank you!