What is CASA?

Court Appointed Special Advocate

CASA Partners 4NMKIDS matches caring adults with abused and neglected children in the foster care system to represent their best interests, monitor support services, and make recommendations for home placement. CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates. Our volunteers provide healthy safe opportunities for building resiliency and lifelong skills throughout Sandoval and Valencia Counties.

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Mission

CASA Partners 4NMKIDS recruits, educates, and supports volunteers to advocate for the best interest of vulnerable children in both Sandoval and Valencia Counties.

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Vision & Values

CASA believes the children we serve deserve a safe and loving environment, and should be given the opportunity to thrive.

Cultural Diversity

We respect and value diversity in all forms. We strive to be inclusive and welcoming. We are conscious of different cultural dynamics and are adaptable in our approach.

 

Quality

 We adhere to standards of excellence and best practices to support our volunteers, staff, and board.

 

Collaboration

We utilize an advocacy approach that includes multiple stakeholders to identify the needs and best interest of the children we serve.

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History

CASA Partners 4NMKIDS is a volunteer-driven 501(c)(3) non-profit organization celebrating 25 years of service to the greater Albuquerque area. CASA Partners 4NMKIDS began advocating for foster children and youth in 1997 in Sandoval County. In 2016, at the request of the 13th Judicial Court, we expanded into Valencia County. We advocate to the courts for the best interest of those children who find themselves in the Child Welfare system through no fault of their own.

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CASA Partners 4NMKIDS makes the crucial connection—one caring adult to one child in need—that can be the turning point in a life that has been disrupted. Our most significant accomplishments happen every day—when an overlooked opportunity is found, a service is secured or an adult connection is made that will help to keep a child safe and give him or her an opportunity to succeed in life.

The volunteers get to know the children and their circumstances, show them that someone cares, advocate for their best interests (including making recommendations to the Court), encourage them to grow to their fullest potential, and become involved in key issues in their life, especially permanent placement, along with school, health, and mental health issues.

A CASA volunteer is often the sole consistent adult anchor for foster children. Children frequently remark how important it is to them that these tireless advocates are the only people in “the system” who are not paid to assist them. CASA volunteers give a voice to a child who cannot speak up for themselves and are frequently viewed as mentors or guides.

Judges typically assign CASA volunteers their most difficult and complex cases: children with prior maltreatment or contact with child welfare, cases of extreme abuse or neglect, or those where there is a great level of risk of further abuse and neglect. Many children assigned to CASA have learning disabilities, physical disabilities, and significant emotional and mental health problems.

Children in the dependency court system face substantial obstacles in receiving the basic care that all children need: emotional support, parental guidance, and a stable and loving caregiver. More than that, they often lack appropriate education and vocational training, medical care, and the counseling they need to grow into productive adults.

Many children remain in foster care for years, and are moved around to many different placements. Studies have demonstrated that children who have experienced abuse and neglect are at significantly higher risk for academic failure, chronic delinquency, homelessness, adult criminal behavior, antisocial personality, and addictions.

 

Moreover, as a child’s length of time in and out-of-home care increases, the probability of such negative outcome increases.  CASA volunteers are instrumental in shortening the time that the child is in the dependency system (achieving either re-unification or adoption), while simultaneously assuring that the child’s needs are met.

The CASA program is a proven, reliable and economic model of support that has meant the difference between success and failure in thousands of children.  Many more children would thrive if they had the intensive intervention of a CASA volunteer.

CASA Partners 4NMKIDS is a member of the National CASA/GAL Association for Children and the New Mexico CASA Association.