About

About Essex CASA

Mission

The mission of CASA for Children of Essex County is to promote the welfare of children who have been removed from their homes because of abuse, neglect or abandonment by providing a safety net of support, advocacy and mentorship. 

CASA trains and supervises volunteers to speak up for the best interests of these children in court, to ensure that each child has the opportunity to thrive by receiving needed services and assistance while helping to move the child towards a safe and permanent home.

Services

CASA Advocates are appointed by a judge to perform an independent investigation into a child's life. They interview teachers, case workers, medical service providers and others. Throughout this process, Advocates build rapport with the child and they develop an understanding of his or her wishes and needs. They then compile their research and observations into a written recommendation that is presented to the judge. These recommendations help the judge make timely and informed decisions that often have a life-changing impact in the lives of children and their family.

Recommendations submitted to a judge always seek to advance two primary goals: to ensure that all appropriate services are provided throughout the child's entire time in care, and to help move the child as quickly as possible to a safe and permanent home. 

History

CASA for Children of Essex County is the oldest and largest CASA program in NJ and one of 900+ CASA programs nationwide. Over a quarter of all children served by a CASA Advocate in New Jersey are served in Essex County. 

Based on the high praise received from the judges in Essex County for our work, in 2002 the NJ Administrative Office of the Courts mandated that the Family Court in each county have a Court Appointed Special Advocate program. Essex CASA personnel played a major role in the formation of CASA of NJ, an umbrella organization which has spearheaded the effort to create CASA programs throughout the state.

Impact

Once brought into foster care, the average child will spend three years in care, move over three times, and attend nine different schools. But a CASA Advocate makes a real difference. Research has shown that children with a CASA Advocate experience fewer placements, are more likely to succeed in school, receive more direct services, are more likely to find a permanent home, and are half as likely to re-enter foster care after leaving the system.

In the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015, Essex CASA's 229 volunteers provided their services to 569 foster children. These children received a range of services from educational support to mentoring to developing family connections. For more information about our children, volunteers, programs, and impact, check out our annual Performance Outcomes report.

Budget

Essex CASA's budget for this fiscal year is approximately $1.1 million. More than 75 cents of every dollar spent goes to programming, including salaries and benefits for staff working with volunteers and children and activities related to volunteer recruitment, training and retention.

Essex CASA is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization under EIN 22-2745450. As an independent non-profit, we raise the entirety of our budget anew each year through grants and donations. Government funding, foundation grants, and individual donations each account for roughly one-third of our annual revenue.

View our most recent Audited Financial Statements and Form 990
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