We are a nonprofit organization committed to advocating for the best interests of abused, neglected, and vulnerable children, amplifying their voices in the Worcester County Courts, and supporting them on their paths to permanent homes. CASA Project Worcester County, a member of the National CASA Association, recruits, screens, and trains community volunteers to become Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs). Appointed by judges to serve on the most heart-breaking cases in the foster care system, CASAs help vulnerable children navigate the Worcester County Juvenile Courts, one child or sibling group at a time. CASAs communicate the best interests of the children directly to the judges, who use the reports in their evaluations and decisions on each case.
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.
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 more than 2,000 abused, neglected, or vulnerable children live in foster care across Worcester County 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 2022, CASA Volunteers served nearly 400 children. CASA Project Worcester County serves five sessions of the Worcester Juvenile Courts: Leominster, Fitchburg, Worcester, Milford, and Dudley. We strive to match volunteers with cases that suit their interests, backgrounds, and location.
Due to factors including the COVID-19 pandemic, the court system has faced new challenges resulting in backlogs and the displacement of children in foster care for longer periods of time. Our CASA Volunteers continue to work tirelessly to ensure the best care, support, and advocacy are provided to the children we serve.
CASA Volunteers perform three essential functions to assist the Worcester Juvenile Court judges in making a best interest determination for each child and sibling group.