National Archive of Criminal Justice Data

This dataset is maintained and distributed by the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD), the criminal justice archive within ICPSR. NACJD is primarily sponsored by three agencies within the U.S. Department of Justice: the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Evaluating the Virginia Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Program, 1991-1995 (ICPSR 2812) RSS

Principal Investigator(s):

Summary:

In 1990, the Virginia General Assembly enacted legislation that established the Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Program, a program providing child advocates in juvenile court proceedings, especially those involving abuse and neglect. The Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) administered this program. In this capacity, the DCJS coordinated services, provided funds, and participated in the development and dissemination of program information and regulations. Given these responsibilities, DCJS' Juvenile Services Section and the Criminal Justice Research Center Evaluation Section agreed that an assessment of the CASA program was needed. This study sought to evaluate the Virginia CASA program in order to provide a better understanding of CASA activities and program characteristics, and determine the impact of CASA intervention on its client population. Qualitative and quantitative data were collected from three sources: (1) administrative records gathered for a sample of 78 cases (Part 1) involving 164 children (Part 2) taken from the files of local juvenile courts, social service agencies, and CASA programs, (2) telephone interviews administered to judges (Part 3) presiding in all operational CASA jurisdictions across Virginia, and (3) surveys distributed to CASA social workers (Part 4) and volunteers (Part 5). Variables common to both Part 1 and Part 2 include the total number of abuse/neglect, custody, and Children in Need of Supervision/Services (CHINS) petitions, date of first petition, petition type, type of child abuse/neglect case, number and date of prior removals from home, number of out-of-home, group home, psychiatric, detention, and family/friend placements since the case opened, whether there was any alcohol or drug abuse involved, and the onset of these behaviors, whether there were any mental, intellectual, academic, or behavioral limitations or problems, dates of first and last court proceeding, date of finding (a social service agency determination of whether abuse/neglect occurred), permanency date, date of final placement, and the number of weeks a Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) was on the case. Variables unique to Part 1 include the age, sex, and date of birth for up to six victims and up to three abusers, as well as whether any adult or child sibling of the victim had been legally removed from the household, the relationship of each abuser to each victim, and whether any of the victim's siblings, mother, biological father, or caretaker had a criminal history, mental illness, disabilities, or abused drugs or alcohol. Other variables include the number of orders partially or fully complied with or not complied with, the number of services ordered for each victim and abuser, and whether there were any changes in the family structure. For Part 3, judges were surveyed to determine their perceptions regarding the role of CASAs, social workers, and Guardians ad Litem (GALs) in abuse/neglect cases, the benefits of the CASA program, how successful CASA case monitoring was, how useful CASA information was, and the impact CASA programs had on the court process. Judges also recommended changes or improvements they felt were needed by the CASA program that served their court. The percent of abuse/neglect, custody, and CHINS cases that each judge presided over is also included. Demographic variables for Part 4 include the age, sex, and race of each social worker. Other variables cover the length of time worked with CASAs, the number of sexual abuse, neglect, custody, and CHINS cases worked on, and the percent of time used to appear in court, write reports, review records, interview the family and child, and speak with CASAs and GALs. The respondents' perceptions of the role of CASA, social workers, and GALs, how the CASA program was beneficial or detrimental to a child, and suggestions for changes or improvements to the CASA program complete the file. Variables for Part 5 include the number of physical abuse, neglect, custody, and CHINS cases worked on by a CASA volunteer. Additional variables include the percent of time used to investigate and monitor the child, family, foster family, the GALs, the social worker, and other CASA staff, as well as the volunteer's relationship with social workers, GALs, and judges. The age, sex, race, and educational background of each volunteer are also included.

Access Notes

  • These data are freely available.

Dataset(s)

DS0:  Study-Level Files
DS1:  Sibling Group Data - Download All Files (3.1 MB)
Data:
DS2:  Individual Victim Data - Download All Files (2.5 MB)
DS3:  Judges Data - Download All Files (2.3 MB)
DS4:  Social Worker Data - Download All Files (2.2 MB)
DS5:  Volunteer Data - Download All Files (2 MB)
Data:

Study Description

Citation

Bogle Willard, Trina G. EVALUATING THE VIRGINIA COURT-APPOINTED SPECIAL ADVOCATE (CASA) PROGRAM, 1991-1995. ICPSR version. Richmond, VA: Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services, Criminal Justice Research Center [producer], 2000. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2001. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR02812.v1

Persistent URL:

Export Citation:

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  • EndNote XML (EndNote X4.0.1 or higher)

Funding

This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (93-IJ-CX-K022)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   child abuse, child advocacy, child custody, child neglect, intervention, intervention strategies, juvenile courts, pretrial procedures, program evaluation

Geographic Coverage:   United States, Virginia

Time Period:  

  • 1991--1995

Date of Collection:  

  • 1994--1995

Unit of Observation:   Part 1: Court cases. Parts 2-5: Individuals.

Universe:   Parts 1 and 2: Children from Fairfax County, Lynchburg, or Virginia Beach, Virginia, who had been appointed a Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). Part 3: Judges from all operational CASA program jurisdictions in Virginia. Part 4: CASA social workers from three evaluation sites (Fairfax County, Lynchburg, and Virginia Beach, Virginia) who had worked or might have worked with CASA volunteers. Part 5: Volunteers from all operational CASA programs in Virginia.

Data Types:   administrative records data, and survey data

Data Collection Notes:

(1) ICPSR blanked variables in Parts 1-3 and 5 in order to protect respondent privacy. (2) The final report for this data collection, obtainable through the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, describes data collected from Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program directors and Guardians ad Litem. The principal investigators did not include these data in this collection. (3) The user guide and the codebook and data collection instruments are provided by ICPSR as Portable Document Format (PDF) files. The PDF file format was developed by Adobe Systems Incorporated and can be accessed using PDF reader software, such as the Adobe Acrobat Reader. Information on how to obtain a copy of the Acrobat Reader is provided on the ICPSR Web site.

Methodology

Study Purpose:   In 1990, the Virginia General Assembly enacted legislation that established the Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Program. CASAs, who are appointed by a judge after a petition is brought to court, are volunteers who serve as child advocates in juvenile court proceedings, particularly in abuse and neglect situations, and less frequently, in custody and Children in Need of Supervision or Children in Need of Services (CHINS) cases. The Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) administered this program. In this capacity, the DCJS coordinated services, provided funds, and participated in the development and dissemination of program information and regulations. Given these responsibilities, DCJS' Juvenile Services Section and the Criminal Justice Research Center Evaluation Section agreed that an assessment of the CASA program was needed. This study sought to evaluate the Virginia CASA program in order to provide a better understanding of CASA activities and program characteristics, and determine the impact of CASA intervention on its client population.

Study Design:   Qualitative and quantitative data were collected from three sources: administrative records, telephone interviews, and surveys. A random sample of 78 cases (Part 1: Sibling Group Data) comprising 164 children (Part 2: Individual Child Data) were collected from three selected program sites: Lynchburg, Fairfax County, and Virginia Beach, Virginia. Data for Parts 1 and 2 were gathered from official records provided by CASA, the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, and the local Department of Social Services or Department of Human Development (Child Protective Services and Foster Care) files. Each chief judge, social services director, and CASA program director was contacted directly to gain access to the files. The information collected from these files included victim and abuser demographics, characteristics of the case, previous abuse history, family history, and court compliance information. Because record-keeping strategies varied considerably across the three sites, it was extremely difficult for researchers to obtain the same information for each case. For Part 3 (Judges Data), a list of all judges who were presiding in all operational CASA jurisdictions across Virginia was compiled. Each judge on the list was sent an introductory letter that explained the project and indicated that an evaluator would be calling to schedule a convenient time to interview him/her by phone. Interviewers subsequently called the judges to schedule appointments and conduct the interviews. Actual interviews lasted approximately 20-30 minutes. To encourage participation, judges were also given the option of returning the survey in a written form, which a small proportion of judges elected to do. For Part 4 (Social Worker Data), a survey was distributed to all CASA social workers in three sites who had worked or might have worked with CASA volunteers. The survey instrument was reviewed by supervisors in each site prior to distribution. Supervisors also distributed and collected the surveys, which were accompanied by a explanatory letter from the research and evaluation team. Because members of the evaluation team were often on-site collecting data from social service case files, respondents were able to speak with the evaluation team regarding any questions concerning the survey instrument. Attached to each survey was a sealable envelope to ensure respondent confidentiality. Supervisors prompted social workers on two separate occasions to complete and return their surveys, which were forwarded to the evaluation team upon completion. Social workers who had not worked with a CASA volunteer were asked to return the survey unanswered, but to indicate on the form that they had no experience with CASAs. Surveys returned unanswered were accounted for in the response rate, but not included in the data. For Part 5 (Volunteer Data), CASA program directors from all operational sites were contacted and asked to compile a list of current CASA volunteers and their addresses. The survey instrument (along with a stamped, addressed envelope) was mailed to every active volunteer in all operational program sites. Directors were asked to encourage all volunteers to complete and return the survey. After the due date, all directors were contacted on two separate occasions and informed of the response rate of volunteers for their respective program, and again encouraged to remind volunteers to complete and return their surveys. After the last prompt and a fairly low response rate, the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) CASA program coordinator was contacted and asked to facilitate volunteer participation.

Sample:   Parts 1 and 2: Random sampling. Parts 3-5: Not applicable.

Data Source:

administrative records, telephone interviews, and self-enumerated questionnaires

Description of Variables:   Data were collected for a sample of 78 sibling groups (Part 1) involving 164 children (Part 2). Variables common to both Part 1 and Part 2 include the total number of abuse/neglect, custody, and Children in Need of Supervision/Services (CHINS) petitions, date of first petition, petition type, type of child abuse/neglect case, number and date of prior removals from home, number of out-of-home, group home, psychiatric, detention, and family/friend placements since the case opened, whether there was any alcohol or drug abuse involved, and the onset of these behaviors, whether there were any mental, intellectual, academic, or behavioral limitations or problems, dates of first and last court proceeding, date of finding (a social service agency determination of whether abuse/neglect occurred), permanency date, date of final placement, and the number of weeks a Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) was on the case. Variables unique to Part 1 include the age, sex, and date of birth for up to six victims and up to three abusers, as well as whether any adult or child sibling of the victim had been legally removed from the household, the relationship of each abuser to each victim, and whether any of the victim's siblings, mother, biological father, or caretaker had a criminal history, mental illness, disabilities, or abused drugs or alcohol. Other variables include the number of orders partially or fully complied with or not complied with, the number of services ordered for each victim and abuser, and whether there were any changes in the family structure. For Part 3, judges were surveyed to determine their perceptions regarding the role of CASAs, social workers, and Guardians ad Litem (GALs) in abuse/neglect cases, the benefits of the CASA program, how successful CASA case monitoring was, how useful CASA information was, and the impact CASA programs had on the court process. Judges also recommended changes or improvements they felt were needed by the CASA program that served their court. The percent of abuse/neglect, custody, and CHINS cases that each judge presided over is also included. Demographic variables for Part 4 include the age, sex, and race of each social worker. Other variables cover the length of time worked with CASAs, the number of sexual abuse, neglect, custody, and CHINS cases worked on, and the percent of time used to appear in court, write reports, review records, interview the family and child, and speak with CASAs and GALs. The respondents' perceptions of the role of CASA, social workers, and GALs, how the CASA program was beneficial or detrimental to a child, and suggestions for changes or improvements to the CASA program complete the file. Variables for Part 5 include the number of physical abuse, neglect, custody, and CHINS cases worked on by a CASA volunteer. Additional variables include the percent of time used to investigate and monitor the child, family, foster family, the GALs, the social worker, and other CASA staff, as well as the volunteer's relationship with social workers, GALs, and judges. The age, sex, race, and educational background of each volunteer are also included.

Response Rates:   Parts 1 and 2: Not applicable. The response rate for Part 3 was 88 percent. The response rate for Part 4 was 38 percent. The response rate for Part 5 was 41 percent.

Presence of Common Scales:   Several Likert-type scales were used in Parts 3 and 5.

Extent of Processing:  ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Standardized missing values.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.

Version(s)

Original ICPSR Release:  

Version History:

  • 2006-03-30 File UG2812.ALL.PDF was removed from any previous datasets and flagged as a study-level file, so that it will accompany all downloads.
  • 2006-03-30 File CQ2812.ALL.PDF was removed from any previous datasets and flagged as a study-level file, so that it will accompany all downloads.
  • 2005-11-04 On 2005-03-14 new files were added to one or more datasets. These files included additional setup files as well as one or more of the following: SAS program, SAS transport, SPSS portable, and Stata system files. The metadata record was revised 2005-11-04 to reflect these additions.

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