Arizona Revised Statute, title 8, section 522(E) states:
A special advocate shall:
3. Gather and provide independent, factual information to aid the court in making its decision regarding what is in the child's best interest and in determining if reasonable efforts have been made to prevent removal of the child from the child's home or in reunifying the child with the child's family.
4. Provide advocacy to ensure that appropriate case planning and services are provided for the child.
Writing a court report is one of the most important responsibilities of a CASA. The court report is the official method that a Court Appointed Special Advocate uses to inform the judge about what the advocate has learned about the appointed child and family. Through the court report a CASA lets the judge know what has been happening to the child while in the court's care. The report outlines, in a standard format, what the CASA has discovered, the CASA's assessment of the child's situation, and what the volunteer feels the court needs to do to help the child achieve a safe, permanent home.
The CASA volunteer court report becomes an official court document. It is accessible to all legal parties in the case, and provides the factual basis from which the CASA volunteer has made recommendations.
Completing the court report does not have to be a difficult task. If the notes and Contact Log are handy the volunteer can work through the report section by section. Previous reports and the case plan should also be reviewed to compare what was expected to happen with what actually occurred during the time between court appearances.
Each required section of the report is broken down and discussed in the proceeding training topics.
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