Study: Children with Court-Appointed Special Advocates do WORSE Than Children Without Them

A new study has just been published in the journal Child Maltreatment: The Effect of CASA on Child Welfare Permanency Outcomes. "The present study is the largest and most rigorous study to date on the effects of being appointed a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) on permanency outcomes of children in foster care. Overall, children appointed a CASA have significantly lower odds than children without a CASA of achieving permanency. They have lower odds of being reunified, greater odds of being adopted (if not reunified), and lower odds of being placed in permanent kin guardianship (if not reunified or adopted) than children who are not appointed CASA." Richard Wexler of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform writes that this is the second large-scale study done on the effectiveness of CASAs, the first one being published back in 2004: "Back in 2004, Youth Today revealed the results of the most comprehensive study done to that point concerning the most sacred cow in child welfare: Court-Appointed Special Advocates. CASAs are overwhelmingly white overwhelmingly middle-class amateurs sent into the homes of people who are overwhelmingly poor and disproportionately of color.  The amateurs then tell judges what decisions to make and, to a frightening degree, the judges rubber-stamp the recommendations.  Though CASAs almost always mean well, their only real 'qualification' typically is their white, middle-class status. What could possibly go wrong? Plenty, according to that 2004 study." Wexler goes on to say that it is time to defund the CASA program.