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NCJ Number: 201764 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Program: Bringing Information to Child Abuse & Neglect Cases
Journal: Child Maltreatment  Volume:8  Issue:3  Dated:August 2003  Pages:204-210
Author(s): Victoria Weisz; Nghi Thai
Date Published: August 2003
Page Count: 7
Sponsoring Agency: US Dept of Health and Human Services
Washington, DC 20447
Grant Number: G-0000NESCIP
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study assessed how the involvement of a Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) impacted the court cases of children who had been abused or neglected.
Abstract: The CASA program was started to provide maltreated children with an advocate and voice for their long-term interests during court proceedings. The authors examined whether the involvement of CASAs provided the court with broader and more relevant information than they would have had in the absence of CASA involvement. Moreover, the authors examined whether the involvement of CASAs impacted the functioning of attorney guardians ad litem (GALs) in child maltreatment cases. Specifically, the authors compared whether the information provided by CASAs was broader and more inclusive than information obtained by GALs, which are attorneys assigned to represent the best interests of all children in the child protection system. The authors compared the judicial hearings of 21 children who had CASAs with the judicial hearings of 20 children who were on a waiting list for a CASA. Brief assessments about these juvenile court hearings were provided by judges, CASAs, and guardians ad litem. Results of statistical analyses indicated that CASA involvement improved the breadth and quality of information provided to the court on behalf of the child. However, CASA involvement also served to decrease the involvement of guardian ad litem, an unintended and negative outcome associated with the use of CASAs. Finally, CASA involvement was also suggestive of a decreased level of activity on the part of the GAL. Limitations of the study include a small sample size and possible judicial bias. The data stimulate questions regarding the purpose of the CASA program that should be clarified as the program moves forward. Tables, references
Main Term(s): Youth advocates
Index Term(s): Child abuse and neglect hearings; Children in the courtroom
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