Court Appointed Special Advocates/Guardian Ad Litem (CASA/GALs) of Worcester County is a not-for-profit organization committed to speaking for the best interests of abused and neglected children in the Worcester County Courts. The CASA Project, a member of the National CASA Association, recruits, screens, and trains community volunteers to become Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), also known as Guardians ad Litem (GAL). 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.
On an average day in Worcester County, MA, 1,600 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 arrive for help into our juvenile court system each year. Most of these children are younger than age 12 – nearly half are under 6 — and all are hurt, frightened, and confused.
Since its founding in 1981, The CASA Project, has provided thousands of children with the voice they needed in court. The CASA Project’s Court advocacy program recruits, trains and supervises volunteers (CASA/GALs) 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 true future.
In 2013, 180 CASA advocates served over 560 children. These dedicated volunteers gave 15-20 hours of their time each month to advocate for children. CASA advocates 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.
What The CASA Project Does
CASA volunteers perform three essential functions to assist the Juvenile Court judges in making the best determination for each child:
- 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 & 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 the case: a safe and permanent home as quickly as possible.
Interested in joining this effort for our neediest children?
We desperately need your help to reach our goal of serving every child in Worcester County involved in a Care & Protection petition by the year 2020. EVERY SINGLE DONATION COUNTS and helps us to make a very real difference in a child’s life.
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, a future.
The CASA Project gratefully acknowledges support by The United Way and our Corporate and foundation Supporters as well as hundreds of generous individuals. Thank you!