Southeast Nebraska Community Action – Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)
CASA Volunteer Advocates are trained citizens who are appointed by the court to support children who are victims of abuse and neglect. They assist in the implementation of any plan prescribed by the court. The Volunteer Advocates identify resources and services a child needs and facilitates a relationship that encourages collaboration between all parties involved in the case to help ensure the needs of the child are met. They appear at court hearings to be available for direct testimony in the case.
CASA has been in Nebraska for 33 years. SENCA assumed the Otoe County CASA program in September 2016. SENCA is one of 21 CASA programs that serve 50 Nebraska counties. In 2019, 2,031 Nebraska children were served by 912 CASA volunteers. During the fiscal year 2019-2020 there were a total of 85 children in the Juvenile Court System in Otoe, Nemaha, and Richardson counties. SENCA CASA served 52 of those children with an active volunteer or by staff, the remaining 33 children’s cases were monitored by the CASA Coordinator.
Children benefit from the CASA Program. A child with a CASA Volunteer is more likely to find a safe, permanent home. They are more likely to be adopted, half as likely to re-enter foster care, and substantially less likely to spend time in long-term foster care. A Volunteer gives the child a consistent, responsible adult presence. Volunteers spend significantly more time with the child than a paid guardian ad litem.
SENCA CASA serves the counties of Johnson, Nemaha, Otoe, Pawnee and Richardson. Debbie Green serves as CASA Coordinator.