The stats are harrowing. In 2022, six out of every 1,000 children in Santa Barbara County were determined to be victims of abuse or neglect. That’s why the need for CASA volunteers is so great. CASA volunteers advocate for the best interests of children who are in the protective care of the court as a result of abuse or neglect.
For many of these children, their CASA volunteer will be the one constant in an otherwise chaotic life.
The children we serve have experienced significant trauma. The vast majority of children who are victims of maltreatment have suffered from neglect.
The impact of trauma can last a lifetime.
But there is hope. A relationship with a supportive adult — like a CASA volunteer — makes a difference.
Research has shown that:
- A child with a CASA volunteer has significantly fewer placements than a child without a CASA volunteer.
- CASA volunteers are highly effective in getting their recommendations accepted in court. In four out of five cases, all or almost all CASA volunteer recommendations are accepted.
- A child with a CASA volunteer is less likely to reenter the child welfare system. The proportion of reentries is consistently reduced by half.
- When a CASA volunteer is assigned, a higher number of services are ordered for children and families.
- A child with a CASA volunteer is more likely to have better outcomes: children tended to perform better academically and behaviorally in school as measured by whether or not they passed all of their courses, whether or not they were expelled, and their conduct performance.
- Children and youth assigned a CASA volunteer reported significantly higher levels of hope. A child’s hope has been linked to numerous positive outcomes such as academic success, overall wellbeing, increases in self-control, positive social relationships and optimism.
Information collected from kidsdata.org and independent research studies are cited on the National CASA/GAL website