When a foster care case begins, the courtroom is crowded with a judge, a representative from a foster care agency, biological parents, family members, attorneys, other courtroom staff and, of course, the child. Even though the child should be the priority in the room, the judges, caseworkers and service providers who determine the child’s future may not have adequate time to understand the specific needs of each and every child. This is where a CASA / GAL comes in.
Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) or GAL (Guardian ad Litem) volunteers serve as the “eyes and ears” of the judge, gathering relevant information about the child and the family. They make recommendations to the judge regarding what is in the child’s best interests. A CASA / GAL volunteer works to ensure that the child is placed in a safe, permanent and nurturing home as quickly as possible. By speaking for the child, the CASA / GAL ensures that the wishes and needs of the child are not overlooked by the many competing interests at play.
At Montana CASA / GAL we support, develop, expand and unite the local CASA / GAL programs so they can maximize their effectiveness while advocating for Montana’s abused and neglected children. We currently help support 15 local programs across the state of Montana; helping bring awareness and expanding into areas that are not yet served so that every abused and neglected child in Montana has the opportunity to thrive in a safe, loving permanent home.