FAQ: Is CASA the Spanish word for house?
Why yes, yes it is! A casa is a house or, more accurately a “dwelling.” The word casa (lowercase) actually originates in Latin and meant “cottage.” The Latin word for house is “domus,” kind of similar to domestic. Casa is also the Italian word for a home, as Spanish and Italianate languages share the same parent language.
However, Boone County CASA, part of the greater national organization of CASA, is not the Spanish word for house. CASA is an acronym for the much longer phrase “Court Appointed Special Advocates.” Therefore CASA is both a national and county organization as well as a person. Confused? Let’s elaborate.
National CASA is the organization which certifies local county based programs. National CASA is a support to the smaller organizations and helps answer questions about the law, funding, and policy changes. National CASA promotes the approximately 1,000 CASA programs throughout the United States as well as helps start CASA programs where there is a need. National CASA states that statistically two out of every three children in the American juvenile abuse/neglect system is waiting to have an advocate appointed to them.
Boone County CASA serves only Boone County, IL. This encompasses Belvidere, Poplar Grove, Caledonia, and the other small towns in the area. In Boone County 100% of children who end up in juvenile court due to alleged abuse and neglect by a parent or guardian are assigned advocates. Boone County CASA is a GAL agency which means that our advocates become the Guardian ad Litems for the children they serve. This is not the case in all CASA programs. Lifecyclemediation.com gives a great summary of the responsibilities of Guardian ad Litems when it says, “It is a legal term meaning guardian for the lawsuit. A guardian ad litem is not the same as a legal guardian.The Guardian ad Litem (GAL) has no control over the person or property of the child and does not provide a home for the child. The GAL is an advocate for the child’s best interest. The GAL does not function as the child’s attorney and does not provide direct social services for the child.
What are the duties of the guardian ad litem?
INFORMATION GATHERING FOR THE COURT
What has happened to the child
The current needs and circumstances of the child
MAKING RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE COURT
What the child needs to be safe
What treatment plans should be ordered for the child/family
What permanent resolution is the in the best interest of the child”
Finally, a CASA is a person. The volunteer advocate him or herself is often referred to as a CASA. They are the person essentially doing all of the footwork and the hardest work. They are the one visiting the child in the foster home, residential treatment center, or temporarily living placement. They are the one calling caseworkers, therapists, teachers, foster parents, and parents. They know the child and see the child in environments where they can witness routines, habits, and preferences. If a child is not present in court the advocate represents the child’s voice. If you are an advocate, remember you’re the lifeblood of the CASA organization. You’re wonderful and needed! If you’re not an advocate or sponsor but would like to become one click here.