CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate
CASA programs are the only volunteer organization directly connected to the court; volunteers are appointed and sworn in by a judge to speak for a child who would otherwise not be heard. As adults come and go in the lives of abused and neglected children, these children desperately need one adult to stay with them for the length of their court case–someone who develops knowledge of the child’s particular needs and may prevent a child from falling through the cracks of the system. This is what a CASA volunteer does.
How many hours do I volunteer each month?
Each case is different. However, a typical volunteer spends 10 to 15 hours a month on a case which will be spent visiting your assigned child, gathering information and preparing a summary for the court.
How do I know if I am the right person to serve as a CASA Volunteer?
It’s not easy to be a CASA volunteer. It can be time consuming, frustrating and at times, and heartbreaking. But, at other times, it is incredibly rewarding. It is rewarding when you realize that without you, the judge wouldn’t have known a key piece of information that impacted his/her decision; or the child wouldn’t have received desperately needed therapy or services without your input; or that a parent wouldn’t have received needed resources that helped them create a safe and stable home for the child. Moments like these make it all worthwhile.
When you become a volunteer for a Court Appointed Special Advocates Program (CASA) you are asked to make a commitment to at least one child or sibling group for the duration of the court case, which usually lasts a year, but could go on longer if the children cannot be reunified with their parents.
If you are ready to become a volunteer click “here” to request more information about volunteering and the next training session.
Is being a CASA Volunteer the same as being a mentor?
CASA volunteers are appointed to children who have come to the attention of the juvenile court system due to abuse or neglect. Like a mentoring program, the CASA volunteer does develop a relationship with the child through frequent contact; however, the primary role of the CASA volunteer is to gather information about the child, write reports to the court and attend court hearings. The CASA program is not a mentoring program. The CASA volunteer does not go on social outings with the child or play an active role in the child’s day-to-day life. Instead, the CASA volunteer is involved with the child and the case while the child is in foster care, to help him or her during this difficult time, to help have the best possible outcome. Once the case has ended, the CASA volunteer does not typically remain involved in the child’s life.
What children will I be assigned as a CASA volunteer?
CASA volunteers can specify the age and gender preferences of the children they would like to work with.* Volunteers are assigned one child or a set of siblings at a time so they can focus on giving them the individualized advocacy and attention they need.
*Please keep in mind that these requests cannot always be accommodated.
Will I also be working with the child’s family?
Yes! CASA volunteers communicate with everyone involved in a child’s daily life including: the child’s parents, members of the family, foster parents, teachers, lawyers, social workers and other relevant people. Volunteers work towards reuniting the child with their family of origin whenever safe and possible.