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Paralegal Linda Caravana has become an official Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Volunteer.

Brandmeyer Gilligan & Dockstader’s own Paralegal Linda Caravana has completed her training and has been appointed as an official Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Volunteer.  She was already assigned her first case to investigate wherein the court ended up following her recommendations. 

A Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) is a trained, dedicated and caring community volunteer assigned to lift the voice of a child in foster care. CASAs are sworn in by dependency court judges to advocate for what is in the child’s best interest. With legal standing to fully investigate a child’s circumstances, CASAs make recommendations to the court regarding how the system and community can best serve and support the child. Our volunteers have the ability to broadly influence the life of a foster child by advocating across many important life issues, including permanent placement, health care, education, mental health and enrichment activities.

CASA of Los Angeles improves the lives of children in the dependency system by pairing them with trained volunteer advocates, who take these five key actions:  Advocate, Support, Investigate, Report and Recommend.

History:
In 1977, a Seattle juvenile court judge concerned about making drastic decisions with insufficient information conceived the idea of citizen volunteers speaking up for the best interests of abused and neglected children in the courtroom. From that first program has grown a network of nearly 1,000 CASA and guardian ad litem programs that are recruiting, training and supporting volunteers in 49 states and the District of Columbia.

CASA of Los Angeles was one of the first CASA programs, starting out in 1978 under the leadership of Judge Peter Gianinni, who secured a four-year federal start-up grant.  Today, CASA of Los Angeles is one of the largest CASA programs in the country, affiliated with the California CASA Association and the National CASA Association of 949 community-based programs and over 76,000 volunteers serving 251,000 children nationwide.

CASA of Los Angeles is located at the Edmund D. Edelman Children’s Court where the entire building is dedicated to administering the welfare of foster children. The program also has an office at the McCourtney Juvenile Justice Center in the Antelope Valley where there are an additional two courtrooms.  CASA of Los Angeles had thrived under the support of the Court for many years leading up to 2010, when statewide budget cuts substantially limited the Court’s ability to financially assist the program. CASA of Los Angeles then transformed into an independent non-profit organization supported largely by community donors. read more

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