The Cuyahoga Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS) receives an average of 4,000 calls reporting abuse and neglect every year, which is the second highest number of child abuse and neglect reports in Ohio. In the most serious cases, DCFS must take protective custody of the child and bring the case to court within 48 hours. It is at this initial court hearing, the Shelter Care Hearing, when a GAL is appointed to advocate for the child's best interests. The ultimate goal of the CASA and GAL is to help ensure that every child lives in a safe and permanent home. This could mean reunification with their parents, placement with relatives, or adoption by a loving family.
CASAs and GALs appointed directly by the Juvenile Court offer judges the critical information they need to ensure that each child’s rights and needs are being protected and addressed. CASAs and GALs advocate for the children until the Juvenile Court case closes and the child is in a safe and permanent home. For many neglected and abused children, the CASA and GAL are the only constant adult presence in their lives during the Juvenile Court case.