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Our mission is to advocate (speak for) the best interests of abused and
neglected children who are involved in the juvenile court system
by addressing the health, safety, permanency and well being of each child

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Address: 1021 10th Ave PO BOX 647
Sidney, NE 69162
Phone Number: 308-203-1120
PlainsWest CASA Serves Kimball, Cheyenne and Duel County

CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteers are well-trained and speak in court for the best interest of abused and neglected children. These children are in court due to no fault of their own. All of the children are victims of abuse and neglect.

CASA volunteers are appointed to a case by the judge. The volunteer's goal is to provide a carefully researched background of the child to help the court make a sound decision about the child's future. Each home placement case is as unique as the child involved. The CASA volunteer researches the child's best interests to stay with his or her parents or guardians, be placed in foster care, or permanent adoption. The CASA volunteer makes a recommendation on placement and follows through on the case until it is permanently resolved. CASA volunteers are often the only stable factor in an often frightening and difficult ordeal for a child.

How Do CASA Volunteers Help Children?
CASA volunteers are appointed by judges to watch over and advocate for abused and neglected children, to make sure they don't get lost in the overburdened legal and social service system or languish in inappropriate group or foster homes. For children who've been abused or neglected, CASA means having a home instead of feeling lost, and being a priority instead of feeling invisible.

Who Are CASA Volunteers?
CASA volunteers are are everyday citizens who care about children and want to make a difference in the life of a child. As a CASA volunteer, you will be thoroughly trained and well supported by professional staff to help you through each case.

Who Are the Children CASA Volunteers Help?
Judges appoint CASA volunteers to represent the best interests of children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect. Volunteers stay with each case until it is closed and the child is placed in a safe, permanent home. For many abused children, their CASA volunteer will be the one constant adult presence in their lives.
According to National CASA, children with CASA volunteers are more likely to receive therapy, health care and education and do better in school, and less likely to be bounced from one place to another or get stuck in long-term foster care.

How Did the CASA Movement Begin?
In 1977, a Seattle juvenile court judge concerned about making drastic decisions with insufficient information conceived the idea of citizen volunteers speaking up for the best interests of abused and neglected children in the courtroom. From that first program has grown a network of more than 955 CASA and guardian ad litem programs that are recruiting, training and supporting volunteers in 49 states.
Evidence of Effectiveness
A child with a CASA/GAL volunteer is more likely to find a safe, permanent home:
- More likely to be adopted (8, 9, 10, 11, 14)
- Half as likely to reenter foster care (8, 11, 14)
- Substantially less likely to spend time in long-term foster care (14)
- More likely to have a plan for permanency, especially children of color (17)
Children with CASA volunteers get more help while in the system...
- More services are ordered for the children (1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14)

... and are more likely to have a consistent, responsible adult presence. (1, 2, 12)
- Volunteers spend significantly more time with the child than a paid guardian ad litem. (2)
Children with CASA volunteers spend less time in foster care... (15, 16)
- "It is quite remarkable that children without CASA involvement are spending an average of over eight months longer in care, compared to children having CASA involvement." (15)

... and are less likely to be bounced from home to home. (13, 15, 16)
- CASA volunteers improve representation of children (18)
- Reduce the time needed by lawyers (12)
- More likely than paid lawyers to file written reports (3, 4, 5)
- For each of nine duties, judges rated CASA/GAL volunteers more highly than attorneys (12)
- Highly effective in having their recommendations adopted by the court (1)

Children with CASA volunteers do better in school... (13)
- More likely to pass all courses
- Less likely to have poor conduct in school
- Less likely to be expelled

... and score better on nine protective factors (13)
- Neighborhood resources, interested adults, sense of acceptance, controls against deviant behavior, models of conventional behavior, positive attitude towards the future, valuing achievement, ability to work with others and ability to work out conflicts

Sources of Evidences of Effectiveness:
1. Caliber Associates, National CASA Association Evaluation Project, Caliber Associates; Fairfax, Virginia, 2004.
2. Donald D. Duquette and Sarah H. Ramsey, "Using Lay Volunteers to Represent Children in Child Protection Court Proceedings" (Appendix C). Child Abuse and Neglect 10(3): p. 293-308, 1986.
3. Sherrie S. Aitken, Larry Condelli, and Tom Kelly, Final Report of the Validation and Effectiveness Study of Legal Representation Through Guardian Ad Litem. Report submitted to the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Department of Health and Human Services, by CSR, Inc.: Washington, DC, 1993.
4. Karen C. Snyder, John D. Downing, and Jill A. Jacobson, A Report to the Ohio Children's Foundation on the Effectiveness of the CASA Program of Franklin County. The Strategy Team: Columbus, OH, 1996.
5. Victoria Weisz and Nghi Thai, "The Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Program: Bringing information to Child Abuse and Neglect Cases," Child Maltreatment 8(X), 2003.
6. Larry Condelli, National Evaluation of the Impact of Guardians Ad Litem in Child Abuse and Neglect Judicial Proceedings. Report submitted to the National Center of Child Abuse and Neglect for the Administration of Children, Youth and Families by CSR, Inc.: Washington, DC, 1988.
7. Litzelfelner, "The Effectiveness of CASAs in Achieving Positive Outcomes for Children," Child Welfare 79(2): p. 179-193, 2000.
8. John Poertner and Allan Press, "Who Best Represents the Interests of the Child in Court?" Child Welfare 69(6): p. 537-549, 1990.
9. Gene C. Siegel, et al., Arizona CASA effectiveness study. Report to the Arizona Supreme Courts, Administrative Office of the Courts, Dependent Children's Services Division, by the National Center for Juvenile Justice, 2001.
10. Susan M. Profilet, et al., Guardian ad Litem Project. Child Advocates Inc., 1999.
11. Michael Powell and Vernon Speshock, Arizona Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Program, Internal Assessment, 1996.
12. Ohio CASA/GAL Study Committee Report
13. University of Houston and Child Advocates, Inc., Making a Difference in the Lives of Abused and Neglected Children: Research on the Effectiveness of a Court Appointed Special Advocate Program
14. Office of the Inspector General, Audit Report 07-04, December, 2006
15. Cynthia A. Calkins, M.S., and Murray Millar, Ph.D., "The Effectiveness of Court Appointed Special Advocates to Assist in Permanency Planning," Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, volume 16, number 1, February 1999.
16. Patrick Leung. "Is the Court-Appointed Special Advocate Program Effective? A Longitudinal Analysis of Time Involvement and Case Outcomes," Child Welfare 75(3), p. 269-284, 1996.
17. Shareen Abramson, "Use of Court-Appointed Advocates to Assist in Permanency Planning for Minority Children," Child Welfare 70(4): p. 477-487, 1991.
18. Davin Youngclarke, Kathleen Dyer Ramos, and Lorraine Granger-Merkle, "A Systematic Review of the Impact of Court Appointed Special Advocates" Journal of the Center for Families, Children and the Courts, 2004
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