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Public Interest Law Project

Megan Canaday

June 01, 2007

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CASA for Children, Portland, OR

I spent the summer clerking at CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) for Children. CASA is a non-profit organization that advocates for children in foster care. Due to complex home situations and lack of resources, some children can spend years in foster care until they are reunited with their birth families, or placed in an adoptive home. That is where CASA volunteers come in.

CASA volunteers are ordinary men and women from all walks of life, educational levels and ethnic backgrounds who volunteer to serve as an advocate for a child or sibling group. Each volunteer commits to 10-20 hours per month over a 1½ - 2 year period of service. As a result of training and regular program supervision, CASAs bring objectivity, competence, tenacity and consistent advocacy into an overloaded child welfare system.

CASAs are an essential part of the juvenile court process. As the CASA law clerk, I assisted the program attorney with research, writing, trial preparation, and file reviews. In addition, I managed all the waiting cases, which required numerous home visits, interviews, and appearances in court. Since I refrained from making legal arguments, I was allowed to speak in court over 30 times even though I was only a 1st year student. CASA is a great place to work for anyone interested in litigation, family, or juvenile law.

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