To Advocate for Children in foster care and protect their interests.
Helping children replace a life of hurt with one of hope.
To ensure that every child has a safe, supportive and permanent home.
Mesilla Valley CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate), Inc. was established in September 1993 at the request of the New Mexico Third District Court judge. We currently serve the court of the Honorable Fernando Macias.
Before the formulation of the CASA program, many times decisions about the future of abused and neglected children were made without all of the facts and information necessary to determine what was truly in the best interest of those children. The solution is the advocate, an ordinary citizen who is trained and given tools to make an informed recommendation to the court as to what might be in the best interest of the children.
Our advocates are recruited, screened, receive a minimum of 30 hours of training, have a background check and are supervised by the Executive Director or staff. Our advocates are sworn officers of the court, acting as the voice of the children and the “eyes and ears of the Children’s Court Judge”.
Demographic profile of the individuals benefiting from the program.
The children served by Mesilla Valley CASA, Inc. are reported to be abused and neglected and have been taken into protective custody by the Children, Youth and Families Department and assigned a case number in the New Mexico Third District Children’s Court. The children we serve are Dona Ana County residents, are from ethnically diverse backgrounds and range in age from birth to 18 years of age.
Geographic area and the size of the group served.
Mesilla Valley CASA, Inc. is appointed by the New Mexico’s Third Judicial District Children’s Court to serve all of Dona Ana County. The Mesilla Valley CASA program serves under the discretion of the Third Judicial District Court and Children’s Court Judge. Mesilla Valley CASA, Inc. is the only program of its kind in the entire county.
Mesilla Valley CASA program speaks for approximately 200 children in foster care and we currently maintain and average of 80 active CASA Volunteers representing an average of 100 families (cases) in the foster care system. These numbers continue to climb even as many of the children are removed from the court due to positive return to their family, or adoption or permanent foster care placement.
We serve under the New Mexico’s Third Judicial District Court.
CASA volunteers advocate for children in crisis, those who are abused and neglected, to make sure they do not get lost in the overburdened legal system or languish in an inappropriate group or foster home. Each volunteer remains with his or her case until it is closed and the child is placed in a loving, safe and permanent home. For many of these children, their CASA volunteer becomes the one constant adult presence in their lives as they make their way through the often complicated process. These children can move through many home settings from foster care to treatment foster care to residential treatment. They can also come in contact with a myriad of adults. This consistency is important to these children’s health and well-being.
The mission of the National Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Association, together with its state and local members, is to support and promote court-appointed volunteer advocacy so that every abused or neglected child can be safe, establish permanence and have the opportunity to thrive.
National CASA and our network of 955 local community programs support volunteers serving children. The role of local CASA programs is to recruit, train and support volunteers in their work with abused children.
Role of National CASA: National CASA offers critical leadership and support to provide quality advocacy and lead the continued growth of the CASA network. Some of our specific activities:
- Training & Curriculum: National CASA creates new, research-based training opportunities, such as our new e-learning series on educational advocacy, and continuously improves our core volunteer training curriculum. Learn more about the curriculum goals and download an excerpt.
- Technical Assistance and Quality Assurance: We offer extensive technical assistance to help programs serve more children more effectively, and a set of standards that provide a framework for quality program management. Each state organization and local program participates in a self-assessment process, which measures their compliance with National CASA standards, once every four years.
- Volunteer Recruitment and Public Awareness: We coordinate national campaigns to help recruit CASA volunteers and raise awareness about child abuse. In recent years, the CASA cause has been featured in various media, reaching more than 155 million individuals. Much of this awareness is the result of National CASA being selected as a CBS Cares network charity.
- Resource Development and Grants: National CASA provides pass-through funding to local and state CASA/GAL programs. Grant funding comes primarily from the Department of Justice but also from private corporations and foundations. Read more about the National CASA Grants program.