WHAT IS A CASA VOLUNTEER?
When a child enters the foster care system due to abuse or neglect, a Juvenile Judge may appoint a CASA volunteer to help them. CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate. CASA volunteers are screened and highly trained to represent and advocate for a child’s best interests in the child protection system. Bringing urgency to a child’s needs, both in and out of the courtroom, CASA volunteers promote safety, permanency, and well-being through independent recommendations. As community partners in the child welfare system, CASA volunteers increase abused and neglected children’s access to services (including educational and health needs), promote safety, and advocate for timeliness and permanency for children involved in juvenile court proceedings. CASA volunteers are independent advocates and provide individualized attention for children in a massive state system.
BECOMING A CASA VOLUNTEER.
Five Easy Steps to Becoming a CASA Volunteer:
- Request an Application from firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Submit your application.
- Complete an information interview with our CASA Ogeechee staff.
- Complete 40 hours of pre-service training—which includes a background check, classroom training, court observations, and independent study!
5. Take your Oath, celebrate with our team and prepare to take your first case!
DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
CASA volunteers make incredible differences in the lives of children who have experienced abuse and neglect. CASA volunteers serve as the eyes and ears of the court. As a CASA Volunteer, you will:
- Establish a stable, one-on-one relationship with a child in foster care and get to know the child’s unique history
- Gather information from anyone who can shed light on the child’s situation – teachers, foster parents, family members, physicians, etc.
- Help older children plan and develop age appropriate goals
- Ensure the child has access to needed medical, education, career, and housing services
- Attend court proceedings (usually every six months) and make an informed, independent recommendation to the judge about what is in the child’s best interests
- Bring a sense of urgency to the child’s needs and promote safety
- Advocate for timeliness and permanency for children involved in juvenile court proceedings
- Remain involved until the case is permanently resolved to keep the focus on the child
During the life of the case, you act as the one constant in the child’s life as they experience changes in foster placements, schools, and caseworkers.
You will spend approximately 10 hours per month working on your case and must visit with your child(ren) once a month. The beginning of a case is the intensive, fact-finding stage and may require more time. As a CASA Volunteer, you will be assigned to an Advocacy Coordinator, who will be there to support and guide you. It is expected that our CASA Volunteers commitment up to a year of service, or until their case achieves permanency.