The Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) of New Jersey program, together with county-based CASA programs, supports and promotes best interest child advocacy so that every child and youth placed in foster care and other out-of-home placements can be safe, have a permanent home, and the opportunity to thrive.
Children are removed from their homes when they have been abused, neglected, or abandoned by their parents or primary caregiver. CASA volunteers ensure the health, well-being, and safety of these children until the child’s court case is closed and the child is placed in a safe, nurturing, permanent home.
The CHILDREN & yOUTH
CASA of New Jersey empowers a statewide network of fourteen county-based CASA programs that provide services to foster children and youth from New Jersey’s twenty-one counties. During the fiscal year 2020 ( July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020), CASA volunteers provided best interest advocacy to 3,717 foster children and youth. Following are the demographics of the children served by CASA volunteers during FY 2020.
CHILDREN BY GENDER
CHILDREN BY AGE
CHILDREN BY RACE
CHILDREN BY COUNTY
Cape May: 167
THE STORY OF A BOY
After visiting At age 3, Ryan was placed in foster care after he was found alone with his mother, who was unconscious from drug abuse.
While in foster care, Ryan was moved to and from numerous foster homes. He had severe Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Ryan acted out aggressively, making it difficult for him to find a permanent home. Given his diagnoses and behavioral issues, the Department of Child Protection & Permanency moved him to a group home intended for older children.
Jan was appointed as Ryan’s CASA volunteer two years after he entered foster care. After visiting Ryan, she felt strongly that the group home was a dangerous living situation for him.
Ryan was acting out. He had been sexually assaulted by another child resident. Jan made sure the Court was aware of this in her reports.
While reviewing Ryan’s case files, Jan found letters asking how Ryan was from his last foster family—the Millers. Jan discovered that Ryan had been removed from the Miller home because it was located in a rural area, and it was difficult finding necessary services nearby.
Jan advocated fiercely for Ryan to move back to his prior foster home. In time, she was successful. Ryan was placed back with the Miller family, and months later, they adopted him. Their family is providing a safe, caring, loving home for Ryan.