The Rhode Island CASA Program was established in 1978, the second program in the country. It has been a statewide program since 1985, providing staff attorney Guardian ad litem (GAL) advocacy to all children referred to the Family Court as the result of the filing of an abuse, neglect, or dependency (through no fault of the parent) petition. We operate under the auspices of the Rhode Island Family Court and follow the GAL/CASA volunteer mode.
The individual Office of the Court Appointed Special Advocate attorneys has the primary role of supervising the volunteers assigned to their cases. In addition, the Rhode Island CASA Program has five full time social workers on staff. In 2010, the role of the CASA social caseworker radically changed. Each social caseworker is assigned to a team that consists of two attorneys, and the social caseworker.
The social caseworker provides assistance to the two attorneys by seeing the children, visiting homes, attending treatment meetings, and providing help to the volunteers that are assigned to each attorney. This shift has allowed the CASA program as a whole to have more contacts with the children represented, and the families involved.
The social caseworkers are a valuable resource for the volunteers to have in working their cases. The CASA social caseworkers continue to be the main instructors in the new CASA volunteer training.
Rhode Island CASA needs more volunteers, the children in Rhode Island who have a volunteer on their case have much better, faster and more secure permanency than those children who do not have a CASA volunteer.