Date of Award

Spring 2020

Degree Type

Capstone - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

First Advisor

Alicia Malone


Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) have been advocating for children for decades. The primary goal of CASA is to help children in need achieve a better life outcome. Volunteers go through extensive training to ensure the children will receive proper court advocacy. Merrimack Valley CASA provides services to their clients, such as court advocacy, placement in permanent homes, appropriate educational opportunities, and improvement in a child’s overall wellbeing. The purposes of the current research are to examine the types of services and the perceived quality of those services provided by CASA, to assess the needs of the program, and to provide recommendations on how to improve services that CASA offers in Essex County, Massachusetts. In order to do so, interviews with members of the CASA team were conducted to determine the strengths and limitations of services. Results suggest that CASA staff and volunteers are doing a good job given the limited staff and funding of the non-profit organization. CASA volunteers work closely with all persons in the child’s life in order to provide the best recommendation to the court. Policy implications and directions for future research are discussed.