Anne Arundel County CASA, Inc. Court Appointed Special Advocates

Rating: 5 stars   45 reviews

Issues: Civil Rights, Children & Youth, Crime & Law

Location: 94 Franklin St Annapolis MD 21401 USA

Mission: To advocate for and support abused and neglected children in the court system to ensure their right to safe, stable permanent homes.
Results: During FY12 (7/1/11-6/30/12), 96 CASA volunteers advocated for 122 children in the foster care system in Anne Arundel County. Twenty-five new CASA volunteers were trained, 41 new children were served, and 97% of the children whose cases closed were living in safe, stable, permanent homes.
Target demographics: AACCASA serves only abused and neglected children from infancy to 21 years of age who are under the jurisdiction of the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County and have been adjudicated as CINA (Child in Need of Assistance). CINA is the legal status that is given to children who have been abused and/or neglected and whose circumstances warrant protection and intervention by the Court. The children are directly referred by the juvenile court judges at the Circuit Court.
Direct beneficiaries per year: Foster children in Anne Arundel County, Maryland
Geographic areas served: Anne Arundel County, Maryland
Programs: CASA is central to fulfilling society’s most fundamental obligation by making sure a qualified, compassionate adult will fight for and protect a child’s right to be safe, to be treated with dignity and respect, and to learn and grown in the security of a loving family.

2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

I have just started on the adventure of being a CASA. I am already soo impressed by the stories of current and former CASAs that I wish I would have discovered this organization before now.

The staff is extremely well informed and trained; the most impressive is the fact that it is not "just a job" for them; they are truly concerned and dedicated to helping the youngsters who find themselves in need of assistance through the courts.



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Rating: 5 stars  

Since I started volunteering at AACO CASA, my heart hasn't been the same. I was blessed with an 11 year old girl in her second foster home. She is currently residing in her third foster placement and will soon be adopted by her current foster family. I have seen this beautiful child grow so much in the last year. When I first met her she was very un-happy, very confused and I'm sure frightened (although she would never admit that). She was removed from her home due to neglect as a result of her parents drug addictions. Her parents have gone to little effort to get her back so she has decided to be adopted. She loves her bio father but is ready to move on and embrace the family that has opened their doors to her. She has become very attached to me as a result of her challenges over the past year. She confides in me and shares many thing she wouldn't normally share. We have spent quite a bit of time together in the last year and she has been able to trust that someone will be there for her.

We have an amazing social worker on our case and the foster moms have been diligent in keeping up with her mental and physical health as well as her school success. In this I feel I have been very fortunate in that it has enabled me to really concentrate my efforts on the child herself.

I know CASA isn't for everyone. It's time consuming and can tug at your heart strings but for those who want to help a child in time of need this is for you.

My life has been changed because of this program and I can only hope that I have made a difference in the life of a beautiful deserving child.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I've been a CASA for almost 10 years, first in Montgomery County and since 2009, in Anne Arundel County. It's challenging - but very worthwhile - work. In order to be most effective, CASAs need training before they begin, continuing education every year, and clinical supervision on a regular basis. Anne Arundel Ct. CASA does an excellent job of providing this professional development and support. I know can count on staff when I'm stuck and need help figuring out next steps or new approaches. This organization makes it possible for people like me to intervene positively in the life of a child facing numerous challenges. Thank you!

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

I've been a CASA for 10 years, the last 3 of which have been in Anne Arundel Ct., MD. With training and regular supervision, I've been able to effectively support 3 children in the county's child welfare system. All have faced significant challenges but my role as the person who is asked by the court to focus on their best interests has allowed me to make what I believe is an important contribution to their well-being. It is an unique opportunity to work one-on-one with a child who needs the support a CASA volunteer can offer.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

I've been a CASA in Anne Arundel County for 3 years, having served in a similar capacity in another Maryland jurisdiction for 6 year before that. Orientation, training, and ongoing supervision are hallmarks of this organization and key to working effectively with children (and families) with many challenges. It gives me a chance to commit to one or two children at a time and do everything I can to ensure that they get the care and services they need to move to a better place in their lives.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I have been a CASA volunteer since 1997 and am also proud to be part of the CASA staff. I have seen first hand the positive difference having an advocate can make in the lives of children in the foster care system. I look forward to the day when every child in foster care in Anne Arundel County has the benefit of a Court Appointed Special Advocate. Our CASA volunteers are the best!!!

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Rating: 5 stars  

I have advocated for 6 children in the foster care system as a CASA volunteer. It would be hard to imagine where those children would be today if they had not had a CASA to be sure that the system was working in their best interest. I have been impressed with the support that volunteers receive and the dedication of supervisors/case managers.

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

CASA provides a very valuable service to abused and neglected children that are having to navigate the foster care system. These children are often faced with traumatic and complex family situations and their needs can easily slip through the cracks as the "system" tries to help them. A CASA is necessary keep the needs of the child in mind and support the often overburdened social workers.

CASA is very supportive with training of its volunteers and with acknowledging their importance for each of these children. As a volunteer, I feel totally supported by CASA staff in helping me do my best for these children.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

CASA is a wonderful organization that provides one on one support for abused and neglected children in the fostercare system. These children often do not have a voice and their needs can be overlooked. CASA volunteers assure that each of these children is heard and receives the best support possible in their quest for a forever home.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

After taking a year off from being a CASA for some family health issues, I have just started a new case, my fifth since becoming a CASA in 2006. I cannot find words to say how much coming back to this work means to me - to help change for the better the life of an abused or neglected child is the most rewarding (and sometimes, heartbreaking) volunteer job EVER. Despite a foster care system that tries to do the best for these kids, it is impossible for the caseworkers to know the kids the way a CASA does - DSS staff have so many kids on their caseloads, while a CASA focuses on one child or sibling group at a time. Fulfilling the dual role of mentor to the child(ren) and eyes and ears for the court is challenging, and the support we CASAs receive from the professional staff at AA Co. CASA is a big part of how we can do this work to the best of our ability!

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

As a CASA I can make a difference in the life of a child in foster care. The Anne Arundel County CASA organization makes this possible by training me and providing professional social worker oversight - thanks to them, I am helping to change the world, one child at a time!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

My CASA experience started with my training and first case in 2006. I have had four cases so far in my 6+ years as a CASA - one of the most rewarding and, at times, hardest volunteer jobs I've ever had. The professional staff at AA County CASA are the best - knowledgeable, supportive, caring, accessible.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

Becoming a CASA has been the single most rewarding experience of any volunteer activity which I have been involved. It cannot be understated how vital our role as CASA's are in the cycle that kids in foster care must endure. Multiple placements, change of caseworkers, change of status within the system, multiple school changes due to placement changes, health and mental issues, abuse, neglect, possible substance abuse or sexual abuse. This is a day in the life of a foster child. As CASA's we become institutional knowledge of the child within the ever changing world around them. Without our reports to the court, the picture of the child would be incomplete. And I have witnessed first hand how our reports are treated by the system. The CASA report is the first report the Master reads. It is the most objective look at the child, but it is also the most intimate look, revealing personality traits and items or help the child may need. These kids deserve what every child deserves, love, stability, consistency, a safe environment. We cannot erase what parental failure has wrought, but we can certainly speak up on their behalf so their voice is heard.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Allow CASA's to also be able to assume the role of "parent advocate" for school matters. As it stands now it is considered a conflict of interest. I don't see why, the CASA often knows more about the child then the overworked DSS worker, and placement providers vary from case to case. It should not be mandatory certainly, but if asked to assume that role I think it a CASA should be able to accept that additional volunteer activity.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

Was this review helpful? 
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

After leaving the workplace I found I had time on my hands and wanted to do something useful. Becoming a CASA certainly has fulfilled that wish. I advocate for two teenage siblings who have become part of my life on a weekly basis and who I am happy to say have learned to trust me. Trust is a hard concept for children who have been exposed to the worst possible parenting, have experienced loss of innocence at a young age and have grown up in several placements. We all look forward to our weekly get togethers, and another small point, they actually answer the phone when I call rather then text!

The siblings are currently in separate placements, as a CASA I now see how critical we are in terms of continuity in their lives. After a year, I am the only one who is still part of their lives as caseworkers, therapists, and placements change frequently. Remaining objective can sometimes be difficult, these kids are absolutely amazing, resilient and lovable. Every child should have someone to stand up for them. That's the beauty of the CASA program.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

I've been a CASA for about 9 months. I have the privilege of advocating for two siblings, a boy age 14 and a girl age 15. These kids are awesome! They have had to deal with so much in their short lives, from parents who are addicts to their own addictions and they are both thriving with the help of a network of people dedicated to seeing them in a loving home. I love taking them places, like museums, shopping for their clothes, touring college campuses, or their favorite, Chipotle. They are both bright and beautiful and deserve all the best. I am gratified that during court hearings the judge/master reads my report first and I'm here to say that it was clearly given weight in the proceedings. It is gratifying to see how critical an objective person is in bringing personal knowledge of the kids, from interviewing parents, foster parents, school resources, medical professionals etc. to the process of weighing what is right or wrong for them. I'll also say that my DSS worker has expressed thanks on many occasions for my being there for the kids. Her work load is huge and CASA's are a big help to DSS. I am very glad I took this huge step to become a CASA. Oh, and our supervisors are awesome!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I was a Court Appointed Special Advocate for twin girls in the foster care system for nine years (from the time they were12 until they aged out of the system at 21). CASA trained me and helped me navigate the social services system, the education system throughout this period and reviewed my twice yearly reports to the court. I visited the girls regularly, attended the planning meetings for them, did regular school visits, had contact with their therapists etc. I think my greatest achievement was re-uniting them with their biological parents (the girls had been adopted due to the mother's age at birth and the adoptive parent abused the girls). Anne Arundel CASA is a wonderful organization; the staff operate as a team, and there is no fat in the organization. Fellow volunteers are wonderful.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

Anne Arundel County CASA has made such a positive difference in the lives of the children in foster care in our community. The advocates work with the Courts to make sure that the child has a voice in our legal system and help to ensure a safe, permanent home for each of the children that are in our program.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Help the organization to reach its full potential by getting the word out so that we could get more donors to allow for more volunteers so that EVERY child in foster care could have a CASA.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

From the first night of training it was clear that the staff of the AACCASA was totally committed to the vision of the Seattle judge who had the idea of a CASA for each child in foster care. The executyive director, Rebecca Tingle, continually creates opportunities to make the program known throughout the community. As a volunteer I always feel totally supported in what I am doing. The staff is knowledgable about the social service system and the court system. They are able to clarify any questions that I have.
The emphasis is about the children not the "great job" the agency is doing. I volunteer for other non-rofits and am always glad to see that AACCASA ia following its purpose in everything they do.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

None None

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

Was this review helpful?