Long-term relationships with one or more caring, dependable and stable adults can make the difference in the life of a foster child. CASA volunteers often engage in “family finding”: they seek to identify and find family members and other adults who care about a child living in foster care and are willing to formally commit to an ongoing relationship. This could involve adopting or becoming a guardian, or a less formal supportive relationship.
CASA seeks to increase the number of children who have permanent homes/families and, regardless of whether a child is formally adopted, to increase the number of children who develop ongoing relationships with adults who know about them, care about them, and will be there for them in times of celebration or difficulty in the future. These adults can be a consistent presence to whom the youth can turn for advice and support. Working collaboratively with DCFS social workers, CASAs help build a committed, enduring support team (relatives, neighbors and former neighbors, mentors, teachers and coaches, friends’ parents, religious leaders, youth group leaders, etc.) who can build a valuable relationship with the child.
While discovery and research is necessary to find possible connections, the CASA volunteer, in collaboration with the social worker or others, may approach and have conversations with family members or other adults so that person is given the knowledge and tools they need to feel supported and secure in making a significant commitment to a child. In addition to relatives, they can help bridge relationships with teachers, coaches, mentors, clergy, neighbors and former neighbors, friends’ parents, and other adults who have previously met and cared about the child.