CASA - First Judicial District
The mission of CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), First Judicial District is to recruit, train and support community volunteers who advocate for the well being and best interests of abused and neglected children in foster care in Santa Fe, Rio Arriba and Los Alamos Counties.
CASA provides highly-trained, competent and committed community volunteers to advocate for children who have been abused and/or neglected by their parents. These volunteers are appointed by the judge to a child or sibling group, spending an average of 100 hours a year getting to know the children, their needs, and their dreams. They speak up for the children' best interest in, and out of, the courtroom while court proceedings are determining the future of the child: return to a safe home, be legally freed for adoption, or stay in foster care until they age out of the system at 18. The CASA volunteer acts as the eyes and ears of the court, making written recommendations and bringing an independent, common sense point of view to the attention of the judge.
In 2007 we created the Power Up program for these older youth transitioning out of care, and were recently chosen by the National CASA Association as a pilot site to test their own curriculum which prepares volunteers to better help transitioning youth. This pilot and grant, called Fostering Futures, allows us to train CASA volunteers all over NM to help our youth become successful, productive adults with a wide circle of support in their own communities.