CASA seeks volunteers to represent youths in court

The Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program of Monmouth County is seeking adults, 21 years and older, to act as advocates for children who have been removed from their home because they have been abused and neglected.

A CASA volunteer is a trained citizen who is appointed by a judge to represent the best interests of a child in court.

In Monmouth County there are about 600 children who are victims of abuse and neglect. A CASA is a caring, committed adult who is willing to speak up for a child as the youngster goes through the court system, according to a press release.

A CASA volunteer assists the Family Court and the Division of Child Protection and Permanency in protecting abused and neglected children and ensuring that their interests and needs are most accurately represented in court hearings.

A CASA volunteer keeps the judge informed about the child and progress of services provided to the family. The CASA volunteer usually carries only one case or sibling group at a time.

CASA volunteers are professionally trained, court appointed community members who dedicate their time, talents, and hearts by persistently advocating on behalf of their assigned child, according to the press release.

Research suggests that children who have been assigned CASA volunteers spend 7.5 months less time within the foster care system than those who do not have CASA volunteers, according to the press release.

Judges have observed that CASA children have a better chance of finding permanent homes than non-CASA children.

CASA is considered a judiciary “best practice” and fully supported by the Family Division in the Monmouth County Vicinage, according to the press release.

To become a volunteer, an individual must complete a background check, fulfill 30 hours of training provided by the program and be able to spend between five and 15 hours a month working on a child’s case. The next training session will be starting October.

Anyone interested in becoming a CASA volunteer may visit the organization’s website and download an application at or call Mary Ellen Rinaldi at 732-460-9100, ext. 11.