Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)

CASA’s mission is to speak in the best interests of abused and neglected children. CASA Volunteer Advocates help to assure each child of a safe, permanent and nurturing home.

Every year, thousands of reports of child abuse and neglect are recorded in Cumberland, Overton, Putnam, and Smith counties. Following an investigation, hundreds will be substantiated. Sadly, the number of reports is just “the tip of the iceberg”. The crime of child abuse is underreported because people are afraid to come forward and report their suspicions-and the suffering continues.

This crime against the innocent occurs in families of all types, regardless of social status, wealth, race, or national origin. Without the dedication of CASA Volunteer Advocates, these vulnerable children will enter a system without anyone to voice their needs and their wishes. No one focused on the best possible outcome for the child…

Court Appointed Special Advocates are solely for the child throughout the case. Sworn-in by the judge, CVAs have the court’s authority to interview physicians, educators, neighbors, anyone, with knowledge about the child’s situation.

CASA Program Goals

  • To recruit and train community volunteers to advocate for every Putnam, Overton, Cumberland and Smith County abused and neglected child.
  • To provide ongoing training and support for CASA Volunteer Advocates (CVAs) who, appointed by the court, are authorized and equipped to conduct in-depth interviews on behalf of the court–with anyone having information that can lead to safe, permanent homes for the abused and neglected children they serve.
  • To focus solely on the best possible outcome for the child.
  • To ensure periodic Reports to the Court are submitted and available to the judge who will be making determinations about the child’s future. The Report to the Court details and summarizes the CVA’s independent investigations.
  • To monitor the safety of the child’s custodial environment through twice-monthly home visits.
  • To provide a safe future with greater possibilities for abused and neglected children in Putnam, Cumberland, Overton and Smith counties.

Volunteer

CASA Advocates are ordinary people doing extraordinary things. When Volunteer Advocates accept a case, they know they take on a child’s future. Generally, the commitment is for one year (or until the assigned case is resolved). CVAs will gather information from a wide variety of people which usually includes healthcare professionals, school officials, parents, relatives, etc. Compiling the information gathered, CASA Advocates submit periodic written reports to the judge and may be called to speak in court on behalf of the child’s best interests.

Throughout training, CASA candidates learn many valuable skills such as effective advocacy techniques, dynamics of adolescent behavior, signs of sexual and emotional abuse, cultural sensitivity; bringing a much needed independent perspective to the juvenile court and child welfare systems. By coordinating with individuals and other systems involved in the case, beneficial relationships develop and awareness of the plight of abused and neglected children grow.

No legal education or training is required to be a CASA Volunteer Advocate, however

  • You must be at least 21 years of age.
  • You cannot have any criminal history.
  • You must be willing and available to complete approximately 30 hours of training.


Become a CASA Volunteer – Contact Us Today!

CASA of Putnam County
580 S. Jefferson Ave.
Cookeville, TN 38501
P: (931) 520-9611 | F: (931) 520-0651

CASA of Cumberland County
1720 West Ave., Ste. 106
Crossville, TN 38555
P: (931) 456-0691 | F: (931) 456-6641

CASA of Smith County
122 Turner High Cir., Ste. 103
Carthage, TN 38570
P: (615) 735-0034 | F: (931) 520-0651

CASA of Overton County
106 W. Henson St.
Livingston, TN 38570
P: (931) 823-7323 | F: (931) 823-7325

Click to print the CASA Volunteer Form

Reporting Child Abuse

Statewide Mandatory Reporting: 1-877-237-0004

If you know or have reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been sexually abused, you must by law, report it immediately.

Reasonable cause to suspect: A light standard to meet and is clearly met if the child makes any kind of disclosure. If the child has any wound, injury, disability, or other mental or physical condition, which on the basis of available information reasonably appears to have been caused by brutality, abuse, or neglect, you must by law, report it immediately.

Reasonably appears/Any injuries that raise suspicion: If the explanation is not consistent with the type of injury. Failure to report Child abuse is a class A misdemeanor, which has a potential sentence of up to one year in jail. Good, well-meaning people have been charged under this statute in cases where evidence was comprised or additional abuse occurred as a result of their failure to immediately report. Failure to immediately report is usually the result of:

  • A lack of understanding of the requirements of the law
  • Uncertainty as to how to proceed (No clear policy)
  • The weight of making such a report is based on your own objective suspicion
  • The desire to verify corroborates or refutes your information before reporting

The following statute is very clear in addressing who is responsible for reporting such abuse. The phrase “ any person” includes all professionals and everyday citizens alike. No one is excluded from the responsibility of reporting abuse nor are they immune to the consequences for failure to report.

Legal Responsibility of Reporting Child Abuse or Neglect

37-1-605. Reports of known or suspected child sexual child abuse Investigations

(a) Any person including, but not limited to, any:

  1. Physician, osteopathic physician, medical examiner, chiropractor, nurse, or hospital personnel engaged in the admission, examination, care, or treatment of persons;
  2. Health or mental health professional other than one listed in subdivision (1)
  3. A practitioner who relies solely on spiritual means for healing;
  4. School teacher or other school official or personnel;
  5. Judge of any court of the state;
  6. Social worker, daycare center worker, or other professional child care, foster care, residential or institutional worker;
  7. Law enforcement officers; or
  8. Neighbor, relative, friend, or any other person who knows or has reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been sexually abused; shall report such knowledge or suspicion to the department in the manner prescribed in subsection (b).(b) (1) Each report of known or suspected child sexual abuse pursuant to this section shall be made immediately to the local office of the department responsible for the investigation of reports made pursuant to this section or to the judge having juvenile jurisdiction or to the office of the sheriff or the chief law enforcement official of the municipality where the child resides.

Please refer to Title 37 Juveniles for more information.

CASA Partners

  • Washington Avenue Baptist Church

  • Sonic

  • Frida & Edie Gaw & The Lazy G Ranch

  • Eagle Wholesale Furniture

  • TTI Floorcare (Oreck)

  • Logo’s of Nashville

  • American Bank & Trust

  • Cumberland Insurance Agency

  • Middle TN Surgery Specialty

Your Donations Make A Difference!

Click to donate to CASA