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Judicial/CASA Collaboration: Resources for Working Together Effectively

The first CASA program was established by a judge, and judges continue to play a key role in developing new CASA/GAL programs, sustaining existing programs and expanding the network. An effective relationship between the program and the court is essential to CASA programs' ability to provide effective volunteer advocacy for abused and neglected children.

From 2003-2008, the National CASA Association and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges formed a partnership known as the Judicial Liaison Committee. The committee was dedicated to identifying all judges who heard child welfare cases and providing them with access to technical assistance and education offered by both national organizations. The committee sponsored The Judges’ Page, a number of books and articles, a DVD/video and the “Lead Judge Project.”

This resource center is designed to provide judges with the tools they need to work effectively with the local CASA/GAL program. Judges who currently work with a local CASA/GAL program, judicial officers rotating into a dependency court assignment and judges interested in developing a CASA/GAL program will all find useful information and resources. 

Resource Spotlight: Courthouse Dogs

In the video below, Judge Douglas Johnson talks about how bringing his dog Finnegan to work has helped reduce stress in his courtroom.
Learn more about bringing a therapy dog to your courtroom or CASA program at the Courthouse Dogs website.

National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges Resources

The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges is dedicated to serving the nation's children and families by improving the courts of juvenile and family jurisdictions. Website...

  • NCJFCJ’s 14-minute video on how CASA programs benefit dependency courts and the children they serve—View it now.
  • NCJFCJ’s Juvenile and Family Justice TODAY features articles on the judicial role in creating and supporting CASA/GAL programs and a board resolution supporting recruitment of CASA volunteers of color.  Read more... (163 KB PDF)
  • NCJFCJ’s Policy Statement“Judicial Responsibility in a Budget Crisis Environment,” gives guidance to dependency court judges making reasonable efforts findings for the provision of services as required under federal and state laws.
  • Judges Value CASA Volunteers But Need More of Them
    Survey shows that judges find the work of CASA/GAL volunteers to be high quality, beneficial to judicial decision-making and beneficial to the children and families served. But more volunteers are needed.

National CASA Association Resources

Additional Publications of Interest

  • New Revised BIA Guidelines to State Courts for ICWA cases: The BIA recently revised the BIA Guidelines to State Courts for ICWA cases. They went into effect on 2/25/15 and can be found at 80 Fed. Reg. 10,146 (or here: In addition, the BIA put out a press release on Wednesday (3/18) indicating that they will be holding listening sessions and accepting comments on a proposed rule regarding ICWA. The proposed rule is intended to codify all or part of the new BIA Guidelines in the Code of Federal Regulations, making them binding on state courts.
  • The Role of the Juvenile Court Judge: Practice and Ethics: Authored by Judge Leonard Edwards (ret.), the book is divided into three sections: Running the Juvenile Court, Ex Parte Communications, and Working off the Bench. It explains the unique role of the juvenile court judge in the context of ethics using hypothetical scenarios to offer advice and solutions.
  • "Ethical Challenges for the Juvenile Court Judge," Judge Leonard Edwards (ret.), Juvenile and Family Court Journal, February 2011. Abstract and full text article.
  • "The American Bar Association 2007 Model Code of Judicial Conduct: What Does It Mean to Juvenile and Family Court Judges?" Judge Thomas E. Hornsby (ret.), February 2011. Abstract and full text article
  • "Advocating for Very Young Children in Dependency Proceedings: The Hallmarks of Effective, Ethical Representation," (2.13 MB PDF) published by the ABA's Health of Court-Involved Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers project  in September 2010, explains how attorneys representing very young children can profoundly influence the health, development, and well-being of their clients through advocacy. 
  • Healthy Beginnings, Healthy Futures: A Judges' Guide is published by the ABA Center on Children and the Law, the Zero to Three National Policy Center and NCJFCJ. Read more at the ABA website.
  • Judges' Page March 2009 Issue: The Role of CASA/GAL Programs and Volunteers in Achieving Successful Dependency Court Outcomes, including judges' thoughts about the important role CASA volunteers play in their courtroom. Read more... (328 KB PDF)
  • Court-CASA Best Practices Issue of The Judges’ Page including an article entitled “COURT-CASA Programs: Holding Each Other Accountable." Read more... (383KB PDF)
  • Court-based Education Efforts for Children in Foster Care chronicles the efforts of the Pima County Juvenile Courts to improve educational outcomes for children and youth in foster care. Download the report (1.4MB PDF) published by Casey Family Programs in 2007.
  • Lead Judge Project
    The Lead Judge Project was designed to enhance collaboration between members of the state court judiciary and CASA/GAL programs through activities that promote awareness of the role and standards of CASA/GAL programs and encourage enhancements to and expansion of the network. Lead or key contact judges have been selected in the following states to work with state and local CASA/GAL programs: AR, CA, DE, GA, ID, KY, MO, OH, OK, PA, RI, VT, VA, WI. Read more about the Lead Judge Project. 
  • In the article, “Why Is CASA So Important for Our Juvenile Courts," published in The Bench: The Official Journal of the California Judges Association, Judge Leonard Edwards (ret.) describes benefits of CASA volunteers.
  • Listen to an interview with Judge J. Dean Lewis, editor of The Judges' Page newsletter, about the role of CASA volunteers in court using the podcast player below.

Web Resources

  • ABA Center on Children and the Law
    The American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law: Improving children's lives through advances in law, justice, knowledge, practice and public policy.
  • The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption’s DVD, Every Child Is Adoptable, promotes adoption from the foster care system. Free copies may be ordered on the foundation website.
  • Child Welfare Information Gateway
    A service of the Children's Bureau, Administration for Children and Families and US Department of Health and Human Services, the Child Welfare Information Gateway provides a wealth of information to promote the safety, permanency and well-being of children and families. Resources include a state statutes search of issues related to child abuse and neglect, child welfare and adoption and a listing of organizations that provide information on child welfare legal issues. Website...

Resolutions in Support of CASA Volunteer Advocacy

NCJFCJ Resolution in Support of the Creation and Expansion of CASA/GAL Programs

NCJFJC Resolution in Support of Recruiting CASA Volunteers of Color

National CASA Resolution Regarding the Use of CASA Volunteers in Domestic Relations Custody Cases


    The US Department of Justice has supported CASA advocacy since 1985 through its Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
    This Web site is funded in part through a grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Deliquency Prevention, Office of Justice Programs, US Department of Justice. Neither the US Department of Justice nor any of its components operate, control, are responsible for, or necessarily endorse, this Web site (including, without limitation, its content, technical infrastructure, and policies, and any services or tools provided).