Kids Matter CASA
Foster care should be temporary, not a way of life.
Kids Matter CASA is an organization of volunteers that advocates for abused and neglected children in Milwaukee County Children’s Court. A Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteer is an everyday hero like you appointed by the court to independently investigate the cases of these children and advocate for what is best for each child with the goal of a loving, safe and permanent home.
Click here to sign up to volunteer. Kids Matter CASA was established in 2001 and has trained hundreds of volunteers serving children in the child welfare system. Kids Matter Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteers work with child protective services, the legal system and community resources to serve as the child’s advocate in court. Kids Matter CASA is a member of the National CASA Association and Wisconsin CASA Association.
Becoming a CASA Volunteer
Through Kids Matter CASA, community volunteers are trained to be advocates for children in foster or kinship care. Appointed by the Children’s Court judges and commissioners to one case at a time, a Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteer monitors the child’s situation, identifies community resources and participates in the court process to accomplish the goal of moving the child to permanency.
The Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteer gathers information by talking to the child, family, case managers, teachers, attorneys and others who are involved in the child’s life. A written recommendation is made in a court report that is prepared for each court hearing. This court report is independent of the case manager’s and attorney’s reports and is often read first by the judge. A CASA volunteer will remain on a case until permanency is reached. On the average, the length of a case is a year.
Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteers are required to go through a thirty-hour training over several sessions. This training covers the roles and responsibilities of a CASA volunteer, the history and laws of child abuse, cultural awareness and understanding families and children. A court observation of child abuse and neglect hearings is also required. At the end of the training, a Children’s Court Judge formally swears in the CASA volunteers.
Our volunteers are everyday people from all walks of life with a variety of professional, educational and ethnic backgrounds. What they have in common is a desire to make a difference in a child’s life. Would you like to make that difference? Call Kids Matter Inc at 414-344-1220 to learn more.
The mission of the Kids Matter CASA program is to be a voice for abused, neglected and exploited children who are under legal protection of the Milwaukee County Circuit Court, Children’s Court Division. Kids Matter CASA advocates for the rights of these children to grow up in safe, nurturing and permanent homes.
Frustrated over making decisions about abused and neglected children’s lives without enough information, a Seattle judge began to use trained community volunteers to speak for the best interests of these children in court. This Seattle program was so successful that soon judges across the country began to use volunteer advocates. The Victims of Child Abuse Act of 1990 guaranteed every abused child someone to speak on their behalf. Today more than 900 CASA program offices are in operation across the country with over 70,000 volunteers.
CASA and Community
There is no greater gift than the gift of self. The creation and growth of Kids Matter CASA would not be possible without the help of our extraordinary partners. The commitment of the Junior League to “building better communities” has supported an expanded CASA program and the creation of a safe haven for kids and volunteers. The ongoing support of the Racine Dominican Mission Fund is an inspiration. We are reminded daily of their mission, “Committed to the Truth, Compelled to Justice.” The Elizabeth A. Brinn Foundation and the Charles D. Jacobus Family Foundation, share their founders’ faith in children and the sweat equity of volunteers. Their early support helped us grow from an idea to a community of volunteers. Every dollar donated to Kids Matter CASA is matched by $10 of volunteer time. We are grateful to the West Metro Optimists, the Jewish Women’s Endowment Fund, the Jack and Lucy Rosenberg Foundation, the Kappa Alpha Theta Milwaukee Alumni Chapter, National CASA Program, the Jane Bradley Pettit Foundation and the many individual donors who made this partnership with the community possible.