What is a CASA Volunteer?
CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates.
Court Appointed Special Advocate® (CASA) volunteers are appointed by judges to advocate for children’s best interests. This best-interest advocacy makes a life-changing difference for children and youth who have experienced abuse or neglect, many of whom are in foster care.
The CASA volunteer spends time with the child on a consistent basis getting to know the child while also gathering information from the child’s family, teachers, doctors, caregivers, and others involved in the child’s life.
Frequently Asked Questions
Most children who enter the child welfare system do so because of abuse or neglect by their primary caregiver. This situation frequently leaves children without a strong adult in their lives to ensure they are safe and that their medical, educational, developmental, and personal needs are met.
Social Service caseworkers and attorneys often have caseloads of over 30 children, which can hamper a caseworker’s ability to give individualized attention and support to the children they represent.
CASA volunteers are generally assigned to one child for the duration of their case. This is why the committed service of a trained CASA volunteer makes a real difference to a judge who can depend on a CASA for a well-researched recommendation on the child’s needs and to the child who has a consistent adult to count on during such a difficult time in their lives.
CASA volunteers are ordinary people – men and women, students and executives, retirees, and busy professionals. CASA will provide all of the training you need to be a powerful voice for a child’s best interest.
Be Prepared to Make a Difference in a Child’s Life:
- Willing to commit at least two years of your time for up to 10-15 hours per month.
- Able to effectively communicate orally and in writing
- Participate in 30+ hours of in-depth training and 12 hours of annual continuing education
- Pass a criminal and CPS background check
- Over the age of 21
Each case and child is different.
A CASA volunteer is required to visit their case child on a weekly basis for a minimum of one hour. Volunteers donate an average of 8-10 hours a month spending time with the child and gathering information. Volunteers are asked to commit until the case has been closed—a minimum of one year. The CASA volunteer is often the only consistent adult in the child’s life who stays involved in the case from beginning to end, providing stability and continuity that is desperately needed.
Volunteers complete an application process that includes a screening interview, background and reference checks, and 30 hours of pre-service training.
After completion of the pre-service training, volunteers are sworn-in as officers of the court. This gives them the legal authority to conduct research on the child’s situation and submit reports to the court.
Steps to Become a CASA.
- Call us and let us know you are interested in becoming a CASA volunteer.
- Submit an application.
- Participate in an interview.
- Complete all background checks.
- Complete the necessary training.
- Get sworn in.
No special background or education is required to become a CASA volunteer. We encourage people from all cultures and professions, and of all ethnic and educational backgrounds. Once accepted into the program, you will receive all necessary training in courtroom procedures, social services, the juvenile justice system, and the special needs of abused and neglected children.
- You must be 21 years old
- Complete the necessary background checks
- Provide references and participate in an interview
- Complete a minimum of 30 hours of pre-service training
CASA = Court Appointed Special Advocate
GAL = guardian ad litem
The titles vary by location, but both are appointed by the court to advocate for the best interest of children who have experienced abuse or neglect.
- CASA volunteers are assigned to only one or two children or sibling groups at a time.
- Our volunteers stay involved in the case from the time of appointment until the child achieves permanency.
- Because of the small number of children a volunteer serves, they have more time to commit to each child.
- CASA/GAL volunteers are specially trained to consider issues relevant to the best interests of the child, which may be different than the interests of other parties or the child’s wishes.
It truly “takes a village” to make a difference in a child’s life. There are many ways YOU CAN BE THE CHANGE.
- Child Advocacy
- Friends of CASA
- Board Member