The Rappahannock Area Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) is an advocacy center serving children in the Greater Fredericksburg area comprised of Fredericksburg City and the counties of King George, Spotsylvania and Stafford. Its mission is to advocate for and locate permanent homes for abused and neglected children who are navigating the court system.
Appointed by Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court judges, CASA volunteers are tasked with the following responsibilities:
1. Investigate abused children’s lives and report on what they need for safety and wellness.
2. Spend time talking with the children, their relatives, foster parents, social workers, teachers, and others to identify the children’s needs.
3. Provide judges’ detailed reports with recommendations about where the children can live safely, and which services may help them.
Rappahannock CASA, which has been in operation since 1990, serves over 170 area children each year. Last year, however, its caseload rose dramatically with 236 children served as of June. Based on these elevated numbers, CASA is always on the hunt for highly qualified volunteers.
The National Children’s Alliance estimates that nearly 700,000 children are abused in the United States annually. Of these children, 74.4% suffer neglect, 17.2% physical abuse and 8.4% sexual abuse. Advocacy centers work to curb these trends by preventing abuse, protecting children, holding offenders accountable and helping victims heal.
CASA volunteers are thoroughly trained in matters such as the effects of various forms abuse and neglect on families, being objective and compassionate, interviewing and report writing, the role of court officers and more. People interested in volunteering with CASA are required to complete an application, take part in an interview and complete background checks before participating in training. While the stories you’ll hear will tug on your heart, the reward is helping to change the future of a child by ensuring they go to a loving home.
Want to learn more about CASA and how to volunteer? Visit rappahannockcasa.com or call (540) 710-6199.