The Office of the Inspector General Report
In 2006, the US Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General (OIG) conducted an audit of the National CASA Association, as required by Congress.
Following are highlights of the findings:
- Children with a CASA volunteer are substantially less likely to spend time in long-term foster care, defined as more than 3 years in care: 13.3% for CASA cases versus 27.0% of all children in foster care.
- When a CASA volunteer was involved, both children and their parents were ordered by the courts to receive more services. The audit concluded that this was an indication that “CASA is effective in identifying the needs of children and parents.”
- Cases involving a CASA volunteer are more likely to be permanently closed than cases where a CASA volunteer is not involved. The statistics vary from only 1.4% of children with a CASA volunteer reentering the CWS (CASA Data Request) to 9% of CASA children reentering the CWS (Youngclarke Review). This is in contrast to 16% for children not served by a volunteer.
- Children with a CASA volunteer are more likely to be adopted and less likely to be reunified with their parents than children not assigned a CASA volunteer. The audit explains this finding as the result of CASA volunteers serving on typically the most serious cases of maltreatment and therefore cases where children are less likely to be reunified with their parents.
Additional Studies Document Results of CASA Volunteer Advocacy
Like our volunteer advocates, the National CASA Association and our local programs strive for fact-based decision-making. Below is a summary of conclusive results from a 2004 study conducted by ► Caliber Associates (170 KB) and other CASA studies selected by researchers with the University of California, San Francisco Fresno Medical Education program for their high methodological quality.
Notable conclusive results from these studies include the following (numbers refer to studies referenced after results):
- CASA volunteers spend most of their volunteer time in contact with a child. (1)
- CASA volunteers spend significantly more time in contact with a child than a paid guardian ad litem. (2)
- CASA volunteers are far more likely than paid attorneys to file written reports. (3, 4, 5)
- 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. (1)
- When a CASA volunteer is assigned, a higher number of services are ordered for children and families. (1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9)
- A child with a CASA volunteer is more likely to be adopted. (8, 9, 10, 11)
- A child with a CASA volunteer is as likely to be reunified with their birth parent as a child without a CASA volunteer. (3, 9, 11)
- A child with a CASA volunteer is less likely to reenter the child welfare system. The proportion of reentries is consistently reduced by half. (8, 11, 12)
- Caliber Associates, National CASA Association Evaluation Project, Caliber Associates; Fairfax, Virginia, 2004.
- Donald D. Duquette and Sarah H. Ramsey, “Using Lay Volunteers to Represent Children in Child Protection Court Proceedings” (Appendix C). Child Abuse and Neglect 10(3): p. 293-308, 1986.
- Sherrie S. Aitken, Larry Condelli, and Tom Kelly, Final Report of the Validation and Effectiveness Study of Legal Representation Through Guardian Ad Litem. Report submitted to the Administration on Children Youth and Families, Department of Health and Human Services by CSR, Inc.: Washington, DC, 1993.
- Karen C. Snyder, John D. Downing, and Jill A. Jacobson, A Report to the Ohio Children’s Foundation on the Effectiveness of the CASA Program of Franklin County. The Strategy Team: Columbus, OH, 1996.
- Victoria Weisz and Nghi Thai, “The Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Program: Bringing information to Child Abuse and Neglect Cases,” Child Maltreatment 8(X), 2003.
- Larry Condelli, National Evaluation of the Impact of Guardian Ad Litem in Child Abuse and Neglect Judicial Proceedings. Report submitted to the National Center of Child Abuse and Neglect for the Administration of Children, Youth and Families by CSR, Inc.: Washington, DC, 1988.
- Litzelfelner, “The Effectiveness of CASAs in Achieving Positive Outcomes for Children,” Child Welfare 79(2): p. 179-193, 2000.
- John Poertner and Allan Press, “Who Best Represents the Interests of the Child in Court?” Child Welfare 69(6): p. 537-549, 1990.
- Gene C. Siegel, et al., Arizona CASA effectiveness study. Report to the Arizona Supreme Courts, Administrative Office of the Courts, Dependent Children’s Services Division by the National Center for Juvenile Justice, 2001.
- Susan M. Profilet, et al., Guardian ad Litem Project. Child Advocates Inc., 1999.
- Shareen Abramson, “Use of Court-Appointed Advocates to Assist in Permanency Planning for Minority Children,” Child Welfare 70(4): p. 477-487, 1991.
- Michael Powell and Vernon Speshock, Arizona Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Program, Internal Assessment, 1996.