Court appointed special advocates (CASAs) and guardians ad litem (GALs) are appointed by judges to represent children's best interests in child abuse and neglect cases. CASAs are trained volunteers; GALs may be attorneys or trained volunteers. Also on this page are State and local examples.
2015 Building Blocks for Success: Building Brighter Futures for America's Abused and Neglected Children (PDF - 1,738 KB)
The National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association (2017)
Discusses the mission and vision of the CASA program before outlining the budget and child outcomes collected in 2015.
Measuring the Impact of Children's Rights to Counsel: Advancing Child Due Process and Well-Being in the Juvenile Court Ecology (PDF - 482 KB)
First Focus & State Policy Advocacy & Reform Center
Discusses the role of juvenile courts in guiding child welfare cases involving out-of-home care. Developed as part of the Federal Court Improvement Program, the CASA program attempts to address the limitations on resources available to State agencies.
Training Volunteers and Staff
Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children
Offers curriculums and supplementary training materials that can be used during the mandatory 30-hour training required of CASA volunteers.
What Is a Guardian Ad Litem? (PDF - 460 KB)
Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid & Legal Services State Support
Explains the role and responsibilities of guardians ad litem, including clarifying features from the role of guardians and lawyers.
What Does It Mean to Be a CASA Volunteer?
Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children (2017)
Explains the ways in which court-appointed special advocates (CASAs) work within the court system to ensure abused and neglected children are not exploited within the legal and social services systems. CASA volunteers also ensure children and youth are placed in safe group and foster homes.
Child Outcomes and Volunteer Effectiveness Study: Determining the Effectiveness of CASA on Child Outcomes (PDF - 829 KB)
Osborne, Dubin, & McLauchlan (2015)
Texas Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children
Identifies facts that enhance or limit the efficacy of court appointed special advocates in achieving positive outcomes for children in the child welfare court system.
Child and Family Advocates of Cuyahoga County
Provides training materials for guardians ad litem and resources that can be used to measure their efficacy.
Rule 40: Guidelines for Guardians Ad Litem for Children in Juvenile Court Neglect, Abuse and Dependency Proceedings
Tennessee State Courts
Outlines the expectations of guardians ad litem before, during, and after child welfare court proceedings.