Dr. Erik Bernhoffer on Serving as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA)

A family medical practitioner in Hillsboro, Ohio, Dr. Erik Bernhoffer earned his MD from Case Western Reserve University in 1992. He became involved in the CASA program as an undergraduate in the Honors Program at the University of Toledo, later serving as a CASA volunteer in the Lucas County Juvenile Court system in Lucas County, Ohio.

Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASAs, play an important role in advocating for children during legal proceedings. A CASA supports a child, who has usually been neglected or abused, throughout the complex and lengthy process of receiving treatment, seeking restitution, and finding a permanent home.

Nationwide, CASA volunteers complete a 30-hour training session before beginning their service. Volunteers commit themselves to the duration of a particular case, which lasts an average of one and a half years. During this time, a CASA volunteer can expect to advocate for the child’s best interests by providing written reports and appearing in court on the child’s behalf, helping the child understand legal proceedings, and facilitating communication among involved parties, including family members, health care providers, and legal professionals.