Research that Supports the Effectiveness of CASA Best Interest Advocacy
The National CASA/GAL Association for Children is committed to using fact-based knowledge, building toward becoming a data-informed, evidence-based organization. This will allow the CASA network to continue to grow its efforts to ensure children and families served have the greatest opportunity to thrive.
Many independent academic studies have been conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of best-interest advocacy and the CASA network. Below is a summary of results from CASA studies selected based on their high methodological quality:
In 2017, 9 out of every 1,000 U.S. children were determined to be victims of abuse or neglect. Physical abuse and neglect are two of a number of highly stressful, potentially traumatic experiences known as “adverse childhood experiences,” or ACEs. Children who have experienced abuse or neglect are far more likely than others to have experienced a large number of ACEs.
- Cases assigned to a CASA volunteer tend to involve the most serious cases of maltreatment, in which the children were more at risk.
- A child with a CASA volunteer has significantly fewer placements than a child without a CASA volunteer.
- Judges report the impact of CASA volunteers is most pronounced in “promoting long-term well-being” (92.2%), followed by “appropriate services to child and family” (83%) and “psychological well-being” (79.9%).
- CASA volunteers are highly effective in getting their recommendations accepted in court. In four out of five cases, all or almost all CASA volunteer recommendations are accepted.
- Over 93% of judges report a very positive overall experience with the CASA program.
Reaching Permanent Homes
A child with a CASA volunteer is:
- Less likely to reenter the child welfare system. The proportion of reentries is consistently reduced by half.
- More likely to achieve permanency.
- As likely to be reunified with their birth parent as a child without a CASA volunteer.
- More likely to be adopted.
Enabling Well-Being Over Time
- When a CASA volunteer is assigned, a higher number of services are ordered for children and families.
- A child with a CASA volunteer is more likely to have better outcomes: children tended to perform better academically and behaviorally in school as measured by whether or not they passed all of their courses, whether or not they were expelled, and their conduct performance.
- Children and youth assigned a CASA volunteer reported significantly higher levels of hope. A child’s hope has been linked to numerous positive outcomes such as academic success, overall well-being, increases in self-control, positive social relationships and optimism.