The CASA is often the sole consistent adult anchor in the child’s life—and an adult who is not paid to care about her—and remains at the child’s side to ensure that she receives the services that she needs and deserves.
CASAs can devote significant time to the child, and provide emotional support by getting to know the child, showing her that someone cares, and helping her to grow to her fullest potential.There is a growing body of evidence indicating that while ensuring safety and achieving permanency are necessary to well-being, they are not enough to support the overall development of the child.
According to the Administration for Children and Families, “Research suggests that most of the adverse effects of maltreatment are concentrated in behavioral, social, and emotional domains. The problems that children develop in these areas have negative impacts that ripple across the lifespan, limiting children’s chances to succeed in school, work, and relationships.” Which is why well-being is one of the national goals for supporting youth in the child welfare system, along with safety and permanency, and also why CASAs advocate for the child in every aspect of the child’s life.
CASA children may need an Individualized Education Program (IEP) to address a learning disability, specialized health care for a medical condition, mental health care to address the effects of the trauma and abuse, or all of these. CASAs also help find enrichment opportunities, like music and sports lessons and camp experiences, to improve the quality of the child’s life, and support their long-term wellbeing.
At CASA of Los Angeles, we believe that a long-term relationship with a caring, dependable and stable adult can make the difference in the life of a foster child. As a result, foster children paired with a CASA spend fewer years in foster care, are more likely to be adopted, and have a better chance of achieving greater academic success, as CASA Barbara Bruner discovered when she helped one 17-year old foster teen apply to eleven universities – and get accepted into ten out of the eleven!