Key ProgramsCASA VOLUNTEERS
The CASA Volunteer program provides court-appointed special advocates for abused and neglected children in Charlottesville and the counties or Albemarle, Greene, and Louisa. To accomplish this, we recruit, screen, train, and support hundreds of community volunteers.
As part of their training, CASA Volunteers must complete 42 hours of classroom training that includes the law governing child welfare, local practice, child development, the dynamics of family violence, investigation, advocacy, and report writing. Those who successfully complete the training and the background checks are inducted by the Judge as CASA Volunteers and authorized to accept appointment to a case. Each CASA Volunteer focuses on only one child or sibling group. They meet with them at least once a month, and are typically on the same case from beginning to end. Because of this, CASA Volunteers are often the most consistent presence in the lives of their children, with a unique and critically important understanding of their circumstances.
CASA Volunteers conduct comprehensive independent investigations, working closely with physicians, therapists, lawyers, guidance counselors, social workers, teachers, parents, and others. They participate in family partnership meetings, special education meetings, and other child-specific treatment team meetings. All the information they gather is distilled into detailed court reports including recommendations that focus on short and long-term outcomes that are in the best interest of the child, ensuring that they receive appropriate and necessary services.
BRIDGES TO SUCCESS FOR OLDER YOUTH IN FOSTER CARE
The Bridges to Success for Older Youth in Foster Care program was created and developed by Piedmont CASA in 2017. Based on what we learned with Fostering Futures, Bridges to Success is designed to fill the gap between the advocacy of CASA Volunteers and the limited resources of the Departments of Social Services. We now have three Bridges Coaches on our professional staff, who mentor older youth and guide them in developing comprehensive, holistic, and measurable plans for transitioning into self-sufficiency and safe, independent living. From the day they start working with these young people, ideally at age 13, our Bridges Coaches stay with them as long as they are in care and have a CASA Volunteer. This reinforces the CASA tradition of being the rare, sometimes only, consistent and dependable adult in the life of a child or youth in care.
CollaborationKnown for strong collaboration, Piedmont CASA is an active member of the Charlottesville/Albemarle and Louisa Best Practices Court Teams, the Charlottesville and Albemarle Multidisciplinary Teams, the Charlottesville-Albemarle Family Treatment Court, and the Louisa County Interagency Council. Piedmont CASA led the effort to establish the Greater Charlottesville Trauma-Informed Community Network. At the state level, the President and CEO serves on the Court Improvement Advisory Committee and is a member of the Advisory Committee to the Virginia CASA Program Network and the Children’s Justice Act Programs, and belongs to the leadership of the Virginia CASA Network.
The National CASA Association provides leadership to nearly 900 state and local program offices that champion the best interests of abused and neglected children. Across the country, nearly 60,000 highly trained CASA volunteers serve as powerful advocates for these children, one child at a time, within the child welfare system.