New Article on Structural Racism and Court Appointed Special Advocates

If you sat in on a class I taught last week, you’d know this is my new favorite article:


This paper turns attention away from discussions of the race and economic poverty of the families most affected by the system, and instead looks at the impact of the race and privilege of these volunteer child advocates on child welfare decision-making

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) are volunteers appointed by the court in child welfare cases to argue for a child’s best interests. There are many issues with this system, and I have been in many loud arguments about it (some of you have witnessed them). This article identifies many of those concerns and grounds them in the history of state child welfare systems–including how those systems affect Indian children.

As a side note, I know people personally who have worked hard to develop Tribal CASA programs. Those programs are particularly sensitive to ensuring their volunteers understand the culture of the tribe and their children, which counters the issues inherent in state systems. This article is specifically discussing the issue of CASAs in state systems.

Audio of Casey Family Programs Press Briefing

Last Monday, the Casey Family Programs held a press briefing on the amicus brief in support of ICWA in Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl. The audio is here.

The press release and other information is here and can also be found through a previous posted blog here.

One of the organizations that signed onto the brief was National Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), which was holding their annual conference last week. As a CASA volunteer and volunteer coordinator, I had the opportunity of attending the conference. I also assisted in the presentation of an ICWA workshop to other CASA volunteers and staff. If anyone would like the handout we used in the presentation or more information let me know.