The Court Appointed Special Advocate Program (CASA), which provides specialty trained community volunteers to conduct independent investigations, make recommendation, monitor court orders, and advocate for necessary services for dependent children involved in neglect, or abuse cases in both Birmingham and Bessemer Divisions of Family Court, is currently serving over 90 children of Jefferson County. In 1998 the Birmingham CASA program received one of the seven JC Penney Awards, worth $1,000, for outstanding volunteerism in Jefferson County, Alabama. The program was also recommended for the $10,000 National JC Penney Award. In October 2000 they were recognized by the Child Care Resources with the Children's Advocate Award.
CASA informs the Court of viable options for the child, based on a thorough investigation of the case, so that the judge will be in a better position to make a decision, which suits the child's unique needs. CASA volunteers receive extensive training before being assigned a case. Currently, there are approximately 20 active volunteers in the program.
However, considering that approximately 400 new reports of abuse, neglect, or inadequate care are received by the Jefferson County Department of Human Resources each month, it is an understatement to say that more committed volunteers are needed.
To that end, if you know of someone who has the time, ability, and willingness to "Speak Up for a Child", please have them contact Nancy Bush, CASA Coordinator at 205-325-5019. If you would like more information regarding the National CASA organization please contact the headquarters at 1-800-628-3233, e-mail them at National CASA.
Jefferson County Family Court
120 2nd Ct. North, Birmingham AL 35204
Birmingham (205) 325-5491
Bessemer (205) 481-4225