COURT APPOINTED SPECIAL ADVOCATES
419A.170 Appointment; duties; immunity; access to information; CASA Fund. (1) In every case involving an abused or neglected child that results in a judicial proceeding in juvenile court, the court shall appoint a court appointed special advocate. The court appointed special advocate shall be deemed a party in these proceedings, and in the furtherance thereof, may be represented by counsel, file pleadings and request hearings and may subpoena, examine and cross-examine witnesses. If the court appointed special advocate is represented by counsel, counsel shall be paid from funds available to the Court Appointed Special Advocate Volunteer Program. No funds from the State Indigent Defense Fund or Judicial Department operating funds shall be used for this purpose.
(2) Subject to the direction of the court, the duties of the court appointed special advocate shall be to:
(a) Investigate all relevant information about the case;
(b) Advocate for the child, ensuring that all relevant facts are brought before the court;
(c) Facilitate and negotiate to ensure that the court, State Office for Services to Children and Families, if applicable, and the child's attorney, if any, fulfill their obligations to the child in a timely fashion; and
(d) Monitor all court orders to ensure compliance and to bring to the court's attention any change in circumstances that may require a modification of the court's order.
(3) If a juvenile court does not have available to it a CASA Volunteer Program, or a sufficient number of qualified CASA volunteers, the court may, in fulfillment of the requirements of this section, appoint a juvenile department employee or other suitable person to represent the child's interest in court pursuant to ORS 419A.012 or 419B.195.
(4) Any person appointed as a court appointed special advocate in any judicial proceeding on behalf of the child shall be immune from any liability for defamation or statements made in good faith by that person, orally or in writing, in the course of the case review or judicial proceeding.
(5) Any person appointed as a court appointed special advocate, CASA Volunteer Program director, CASA Volunteer Program employee or member of the board of directors or trustees of any CASA Volunteer Program shall be immune from any liability for acts or omissions or errors in judgment made in good faith in the course or scope of that person's duties or employment as part of a CASA Volunteer Program.
(6) Whenever the court appoints a court appointed special advocate or other person under subsections (1) to (3) of this section to represent the child, it may require a parent, if able, or guardian of the estate, if the estate is able, to pay, in whole or in part, the reasonable costs of CASA services including reasonable attorney fees. The court's order of payment shall be enforceable in the same manner as an order of support under ORS 419B.408.
(7) Upon presentation of the order of appointment by the court appointed special advocate, any agency, hospital, school organization, division, office or department of the state, doctor, nurse or other health care provider, psychologist, psychiatrist, police department or mental health clinic shall permit the court appointed special advocate to inspect and copy any records relating to the child or children involved in the case, without the consent of the child or children or parents.
(8) All records and information acquired or reviewed by a court appointed special advocate during the course of official duties shall be deemed confidential under ORS 419A.255.
(9) For the purposes of a Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (42 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.) grant to this state under Public Law No. 93-247, or any related state or federal legislation, a court appointed special advocate or other person appointed pursuant to subsections (1) to (3) of this section shall be deemed a guardian ad litem to represent the interests of the minor in proceedings before the court. Any provisions of this section and ORS 419B.035 and 419B.045 that shall cause this state to lose federal funding shall be considered null and void.
(10) There is created a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Fund in the General Fund. The fund shall consist of all moneys credited thereto. Moneys appropriated to the Court Appointed Special Advocate Fund by this section and ORS 419B.035 and 419B.045 may be used only to carry out the purposes of this section. The State Commission on Children and Families may apply for and receive funds from federal and private sources for carrying out the provisions of this section and ORS 419B.035 and 419B.045.
(11) The state commission may expend moneys from the Court Appointed Special Advocate Fund directly or indirectly through contracts or grants for the creation, supervision and operation of CASA Volunteer Programs statewide in accordance with the provisions of ORS 419A.044 to 419A.048. The commission may also expend moneys from the Court Appointed Special Advocate Fund to pay the reasonable costs of its administration of the Court Appointed Special Advocate Fund. The commission shall adopt rules for carrying out its responsibilities under this section and ORS 419B.035 and 419B.045. [1993 c.33 s.44; 1993 c.546 s.92; 1993 c.676 s.41; 1997 c.130 s.12]
Note: Section 1, chapter 827, Oregon Laws 1999, provides:
Sec. 1. (1) The State Court Administrator and the staff director of the State Commission on Children and Families shall appoint a planning and advisory committee to make recommendations on how best to meet the mandates of ORS 419A.170 including, but not limited to, statewide program structure guidelines and funding procedures.
(2) In making their appointments, the administrator and staff director shall ensure that the planning and advisory committee reflects the diversity of CASA Volunteer Programs and communities throughout the state. The administrator and staff director shall appoint as members of the planning and advisory committee:
(a) One member of the Oregon CASA Association Executive Committee;
(b) Two persons who are court appointed special advocates;
(c) One representative of a CASA Volunteer Program board of directors or advisory board;
(d) Two judges;
(e) One court referee;
(f) Two representatives of the State Commission on Children and Families;
(g) One representative of a local commission on children and families;
(h) Two representatives of the staff of the State Court Administrator; and
(i) Two attorneys who regularly practice in juvenile court.
(3) The administrator and staff director shall designate one facilitator for the planning and advisory committee.
(4) The State Commission on Children and Families and the State Court Administrator shall provide staff support for the planning and advisory committee. The commission shall provide funds to cover other administrative costs of the committee.
(5) No later than October 1, 2000, the planning and advisory committee shall submit a report containing its recommendations to the Legislative Assembly, Governor, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Judicial Conference of the State of Oregon and the State Commission on Children and Families.
(6) As used in this section, ""CASA Volunteer Program"" and ""court appointed special advocate"" have the meanings given those terms in ORS 419A.004. [1999 c.827 s.1]