Child Advocates is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization dedicated to improving the lives of abused and neglected children in a four county area around Wichita Falls, Texas. Child Advocates recruits, trains, and supervises volunteers who are appointed to serve as Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). Child Advocates is part of a nationwide organization of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) with 937 programs and 52,000 volunteers.
No public agency is mandated by law to provide impartial representation for children who are removed from their homes as a result of abuse or neglect. Child Protective Services is required to safeguard children, but is often limited by financial constraints, overworked personnel, or the lack of foster placements, and ultimately a child's best interests may not be protected. Attorneys appointed to represent the child are ethically bound to represent what the child wants (if four years or older), as opposed to what is in the child's best interest. The gap is filled by a CASA who makes educated recomendations for a final placement that is in the child's best interests.
The CASA does not provide legal representation in the courtroom; that is the role of the attorney. A CASA, however, speaks specifically to what is in the best interest of the child, as opposed to what a child may want. CASAs provide crucial background information that assists attorneys in presenting their cases.