State & Local Programs

CASA Effectiveness Manual Part 1

Child Outcome and Process Goals

Child Outcome Goals - Definition

Child outcome goals reflect what the program ultimately hopes to achieve for the children they are serving. These goals are considered, in general, to be what is in "the best interest of the child". Some programs may refer to these as "long-term goals".

Child outcome goals focus on the placement of children in safe, permanent family homes.
Outcome goals are written based on the following beliefs:

  • Children should be safe while in placement and after court dismissal.
  • Children should live in permanent, safe, family homes.
  • Children should spend the least amount of time under court jurisdiction as possible.

Definitions and Measurement of Child Outcome Goals

Child Outcome Goal #1
Children should be safe while in placement and after court case closure.

Definition:
Safety is defined as no recurrence of abuse or neglect while in placement or after court case closure. Abuse or neglect is defined as confirmed or substantiated cases.

Measures:

1. Number and percent of children served by CASA Volunteers who experienced recurrence of abuse/neglect while in care.

2. Number of children who re-enter the court system six months or more after case closure with the court.

Child Outcome Goal #2
Children should live in permanent, safe, family homes.

Definition:
Permanence is achieved when the child(ren) returns home, is placed in an adoptive home, or when relatives are given legal custody. A family home is considered the home of parents, relatives or an adoptive home.

Measures:

1. Percent of children achieving permanent placement at six, twelve, and eighteen months after assigned a CASA.

2.Type of placement at court case closure.

a. number and percent returned home.
b. number and percent placed with a relative or legal guardian.
c. number and percent adopted.

3. Percent of children remaining in permanent home (placement at dismissal) six months after case closure with the court.

Child Outcome Goal #3
Children should spend the least amount of time under court jurisdiction as possible.

Definition:
Amount of time under court jurisdiction is defined as the time from the filing of the petition or protective custody order until court dismissal.

Measures:

1. Average number of months (in the past year) children in the CASA program are under court jurisdiction.

2. Percent of CASA children dismissed from court custody at six, twelve and eighteen months after assigned a CASA.

3. Number of CASA cases that experienced case closure with the court, during the past 12 months.

4.Number of CASA cases that experienced case closure with the child welfare agency during the past 12 months.

Summary of Child Outcome Goals

#1 Children should be safe while in placement and after court case closure.
#2 Children should live in permanent, safe, family homes.
#3 Children should spend the least amount of time under court jurisdiction as possible.

Examples of Program Goals Related to Child Outcomes

  • 100% of the children served by CASA volunteers will not experience maltreatment this year.
  • 25% of the children served by the CASA program will achieve permanency this year.
  • 90% of the children served by CASA volunteers will be placed with families.
  • The number of children placed in family homes will increase 25% from last year.
  • The average amount of time that children, served by CASA volunteers, are under court jurisdiction will decrease by 60 days this year.
  • The average amount of time that children, served by CASA volunteers, are under court jurisdiction will not exceed 18 months.
  • 20% of the children, served by CASA, will achieve permanency within 12 months after being assigned a CASA volunteer.

Process Goals

Definitions:
Processes are considered those court and foster care activities that lead to child outcomes. Some programs may refer to these as "short-term goals" or "indicators".

Process goals are based on the following beliefs:

  • Children should experience stability while in foster care.
  • While in care children should be placed in the least restrictive setting consistent with their needs.
  • While in care, children should be placed in close proximity of the home identified as permanent.
  • Cases should have written case plans which reflect permanency.
  • Case plans should be reviewed at least every six months.
  • The services in the case plan should be provided to children and families.
  • Children should have frequent visitation with the family identified as permanent.

Definition and Measurement of Process Goals

Process Goal #1
Children should experience stability while in placement and sibling groups should be placed together.

Definition:
Stability refers to few placement changes while in court custody. (Short disruptions in placement; runaway episodes or hospital stays in which the child returns to the original placement are not considered a change in placement).

Measures:

1. Average number of placements per child per year in custody. (Case should have been assigned a CASA volunteer for at least six months of the year).

2. Percent of children experiencing more than one placement in a year.

3. Percent of children experiencing more than three placements in a year.

4. Percent of children placed together with sibling group. (Applies only when siblings are also under court jurisdiction).

Process Goal #2
While in care, children should be in the least restrictive placement consistent with their needs.

Definition:
Least restrictive placement considers type of placement.

Least restrictive to most restrictive is considered to be as follows:

  • Home of Biological Parent (least)
  • Home of Relative
  • Family Foster Home
  • Therapeutic Foster Home
  • Group Home
  • Residential Facility
  • Institution or Hospital (most)

Measures:

1. Judge has made "Reasonable Efforts Determination".

2. Number and percent of children in each placement category.

3. Percent of children experiencing moves to less restrictive placements per month, per year.

Process Goal #3
While in care, children should be placed in close proximity of the planned permanent home in order to allow for frequent visitation.

Definition:
Close proximity is defined as within approximately 30 miles or within the county.

Measures:

1. Percent of children in CASA program placed in the county of the planned permanent home.
or

2. Percent of children in CASA program placed within 30 miles of planned permanent home.

Process Goal #4
Cases should have written case plans. Significant parties should be involved in the case planning meetings and subsequent review meetings and agree to work to implement the plan. Case plans should be reviewed at least every six months.

Definitions:
Case plans are the child welfare agency case plan and should include a permanent placement or reintegration plan.
Significant parties should include: biological parents (when reunification is the goal), foster parents, child welfare worker, CASA volunteer and may include collaterals such as therapists, teachers, group home staff, etc.

Measures:

1. Permanent placement plan or reintegration plan is specified.

2. Significant parties are present at case plan meeting and subsequent review meetings.

3. Significant parties have signed the case plan.

4. Case plan has been reviewed during the past six months.

Process Goal #5
Services called for in the case plan should be provided.

Definition:
Services are those things in the case plan that are to be provided to child(ren) and families such as transportation, counseling, respite care, clothing, medical, etc.

Measures:

1. The services called for in the case plan were provided.

Process Goal #6
Children should have frequent visitation with the family identified as permanent.

Definition:
Frequent visitation is considered at least weekly contact.

Measures:

1. Percent of children having weekly visitation with family identified as permanent.

Summary of Process Goals

  • Children should experience stability while in placement and sibling groups should be placed together.
  • While in care, children should be in the least restrictive placement consistent with their needs.
  • While in care, children should be placed in close proximity of the planned permanent home in order to allow for frequent visitation.
  • Cases should have written case plans. Significant parties should be involved in the case planning meetings and subsequent review meetings and agree to work to implement the plan. Case plans should be reviewed at least every six months.
  • Services called for in the case plan should be provided.
  • Children should have frequent visitation with the family identified as permanent.

Examples of Program Goals Related to Processes

  • 50% of the children served by the CASA program will remain in the same placement this year.
  • 20% of the children served by CASA will move to a less restrictive setting this year.
  • The percentage of children, served by CASA volunteers, who are placed in group homes and institutions will not exceed 15%.
  • The percentage of children, served by CASA volunteers, who are placed in group homes and institutions will decrease this year.
  • Less than 20% of the children, served by CASA volunteers, will experience more than one move while in care this year.
  • 75% of the children, served by CASA volunteers, will be placed within 30 miles of the family identified as the permanent placement in the case plan.
  • 90% of the children served by CASA volunteers will have frequent case plan reviews (every six months) by the child welfare agency.
  • 75% of the children served by CASA volunteers will receive the services that are identified in the case plan this year.
  • 75% of the families, will receive the services that are identified in the case plan this year.
  • 80% of the children, served by CASA volunteers, will have weekly visitation with the family identified in the case plan as permanent.
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