• Monday, 21 January 2019

New Legislation Recognizes Importance of Volunteer Advocates for Children in New York State Family Court

ALBANY, N.Y: The organization dedicated to giving vulnerable children a voice in New York State Family Court is pleased to announce the passage of legislation officially recognizing the importance of its volunteer advocates.

"This legislation will make it easier for Family Court judges in New York State to assign Court Appointed Special Advocates to children in cases of abuse and neglect," said Arthur Siegel, President of Court Appointed Special Advocates of New York State (CASANYS). "More children will be helped as a result."

The CASA Bill signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo October 1 amends Section 212 of the judiciary law and creates a new article 21-C standardizing the administration of CASA programs statewide. CASA programs currently operate in 29 counties with more than 600 volunteers serving approximately 2,600 children. Volunteers are assigned a child who is either in foster care or at risk of placement in foster care due to neglect or abuse. The volunteer gets to know the child and submits reports to Family Court about the child's health, education, safety and well-being. The reports are used by judges to make informed decisions about the child's future.

"With this statutory framework in place, CASA can more fully integrate its services into the Family Court system in New York State," Siegel said. "By helping more children find a safe place to call home, we increase their chances to succeed as adults."