Change a child’s story…become a CASA volunteer

Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children (CASAs) are highly trained volunteers empowered by the Family Court Judge to provide best interest advocacy to children who are involved in the child welfare/foster care system because of abuse and/or neglect.

 
 
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What does casa stand for?

CASA is an acronym for "Court Appointed Special Advocate" for children

What is CASA?

Genesee County CASA is a private, non-profit organzation whose purpose is to train and supervise a diverse group of volunteers to advocate for children who have been abused and/or neglected.  These children are at risk of being removed from their homes or have already been placed into the foster care system.  CASA's goal is to ensure that all of these children have safe and permanent homes as quickly as possible.

What does a CASA do?

Once a volunteer has received throughout training and been sworn in by our local Family Court Judge, they are assigned to their very own case.  The CASA meets and talks to parents, foster parents, teachers, principals, social workers, counselors, case workers, the child's attorney, medical professionals and anyone else who may have relevant information on the well-being of the child(ren).  The CASA then gathers all factual information and writes a report to the court approximately every 60 days which is seen by all parties involved in the case, including the Judge.  With more information in hand, the Judge can make the best informed decision as possible as to what should happen next in the lives of the children involved.

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How does a CASA become involved on a case?

The only way a CASA can become involved in a case is through assignment by The Honorable Judge Adams, our local Family Court Judge.  At times, attorneys for the children have been known to also request a CASA be assigned to their case. 

How large is the CASA program?

Genesee County CASA for Children serves children from birth to age 18 within Genesee County, NY.  We have only one paid staff member, our Executive Director, whose responsibility is to recruit, screen, train and supervise the current 11 volunteer advocates.  Annually, our dedicated volunteers serve between 50-60 children.  Genesee County CASA for Children is also a part of National CASA as well as the NYS CASA Association.  There are CASA programs across 36 counties in New York State.  In the United States, there are 950 CASA programs in 49 states with the first CASA program beginning in Seattle in 1977.  

How is CASA funded?

Genesee County CASA, Inc. is an independent 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization.  We are very fortunate to receive funding through grants from a variety of foundations and local community donors.  Genesee County Family Court provides office space and support services at no cost to our program.  We do receive a limited amount of funding from the Office of Court Administration, however, government funding makes up a very small percentage of the total funding that we receive. This program is also supported by local foundations such as the Batavia Rotary, United Way of Greater Rochester, Genesee County Youth Bureau, The New York Bar Foundation and the Kelly for Kids Foundation.  Our largest source of funding is through our annual fundraisers; including our CASAblanca Casino Night event, our letter writing campaign, and our House Party in December.  

 Since 1999, we have been advocating for the best interests of abused and neglected children in Genesee County Family Court.

 

Our Mission

To provide trained community volunteers to advocate for the best interest of those children who come to the attention of Family Court as a result of abuse and/or neglect.

 

Our Vision

To ensure that every child who that is placed into the custody of our local Department of Social Services, due to abuse and/or neglect, is able to have a trained and qualified CASA volunteer assigned to their case that will advocate on behalf of their best interests in family court and ensure that they are placed in a safe, permanent home.

 

Our Values

  •  Integrity:  Our success depends upon the highest level of integrity from the Board of Directors, staff members and child advocates.

  • Equality:  Services are based solely upon need and are offered without regard to race, religion,gender, socio-economic status, sexual orientation or like considerations.-       

  • Cooperation:  We support and will collaborate with other community based services or will solely provide needed services to all children as long as those services fall within the scope of and boundary of our organization's mission and vision.

  • Professional Growth:  We seek professional development opportunities to enhance the values of our organization.

  • Excellence in Advocacy: We seek to be responsive to children's needs, to provide them with compassion, stability and security as well as report to the courts with accuracy, objectivity and confidentiality.

     

*We are currently seeking to expand and diversify our team and are looking for individuals with backgrounds in Marketing/PR, Fundraising, Business, Organizational Planning, Donor Management, and Accounting. If interested, please fill out the contact form below and someone from our program will be in touch with you shortly.

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Our board of directors

  • Barbara Hale, President

  • Christine Ditzel, Vice President

  • Francis Marchese, Treasurer

  • Kristie DeFreze, Esq., Secretary

  • Deb Davis

  • Michelle Dills

  • Natalie Ficarella

  • Pamela Wentworth

  • Patricia Wormley

  • Bev Hoy

  • Patricia Burns

  • Ashley Greene, Executive Director

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Our partners are so important to our cause and together we are able to make a difference in the lives of the children we serve.  Help bring us one step closer to our goal of placing a CASA in the life of every abused and neglected child in Genesee County.  


Partners