Every day in this country, 1,900 children become victims of abuse or neglect, and four of them will die. Every day. Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for Children is a network of 933 community-based programs that recruit, train and support citizen-volunteers to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in courtrooms and communities. Volunteer advocates—empowered directly by the courts—offer judges the critical information they need to ensure that each child’s rights and needs are being attended to while in foster care.
Volunteers stay with children until they are placed in loving permanent homes. For many abused children, a CASA volunteer is the only constant adult presence in their lives.
Douglass Community Services CASA trains and supports volunteers who speak independently for the best interest of abused and neglected children in the 10th Judicial Circuit, which consists of Marion, Monroe, and Ralls Counties in Missouri. Our volunteers promote each child's right to a safe, permanent, and nurturing home.
Train and support volunteers so every abused and neglected child in the 10th circuit has a caring, consistent adult to advocate in their best interests.
For every child to have a safe, permanent home and the opportunity to thrive.
We collaborate with each other, our community, our volunteers and stakeholders to effectively and creatively carry out our mission.
We pursue excellence in everything we do and strive to provide the best advocacy for children who have experienced abuse and neglect. We evaluate our program and strive for continuous improvement; putting our heart and mind in the work to get the best results.
We believe every human has inherent value and dignity. We value and respect both our similarities and individual differences. We seek to foster a trusting and open environment.
We are committed to being responsive, respectful, honest and fair. We honor our commitments and are accountable to our stakeholders for our actions. We strive to maintain an environment based on mutual respect and understanding.
As we work to serve the children entrusted to our program, we operate from a common purpose, act with integrity, being reliable and responsible to our community partners.
In 1977, Seattle Superior Court Judge, David Soukup, was concerned about making decisions on behalf of abused and neglected children without enough information. He had the idea of appointing community volunteers to speak up for the best interests of these children in court. He made a request for volunteers—Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA®). Fifty citizens responded, and that was the start of the CASA movement. Since the inception of CASA advocacy, volunteers have helped missions of children to find safe, permanent homes.
What is a CASA?
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) are highly trained volunteers who speak for the best interest of children removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect.
What do CASA Volunteers do?
CASA volunteers are appointed by the Juvenile Court to be the voice for children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect. Our volunteers see their assigned child at least once a month and gather information related to their child’s circumstances. The volunteer advocates for the child’s needs in a variety of areas, including educational, medical, and court settings. Advocates make recommendations to the court about what is in a child’s best interest. How do I become a CASA?
If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer advocate for a child in need, please complete and return the application attached below and email or mail to us. You will be contacted by a CASA staff member to arrange an interview. A check of your background and references will be conducted. Upon completion of 30 hours of pre-service training, you will be sworn in as an advocate and assigned a case. Volunteers must be at least 21 years of age and pass a criminal history and Children’s Division background checks.
If you are wanting to find out more information on becoming a CASA or have questions, please let us know.
Becky graduated from Hannibal LaGrange in 1997 and has worked with CASA since 2015. She and her husband Jerry have 4 children. Becky has a background as an educator and also serves as an adjunct for Hannibal La-Grange University. She holds a Master’s in Psychology from Avila University in Kansas City, Mo.
CASA Volunteer Coordinator
Stephanie is a proud Hannibal native. She and her husband, Brandon, were married in October 2019 bringing together her two sons and his daughter. Stephanie has experience working as a Missouri Certified Peer Specialist and now turns her attention to bridging the gap for those in foster care. It has been her life’s passion to make a difference in the lives of as many people as possible—no matter how small.
Douglass Community Services 711 Grand Avenue Hannibal, MO 63401 573.221.3890 ext. 227