Becoming a CASA Volunteer
So what does it take to become a CASA volunteer? First and foremost is a desire to help the most vulnerable of our children. The safety and protection of the children we serve as of paramount importance. All potential volunteers, before beginning training, undergo an extensive screening process. In addition to the application, volunteers are interviewed, references are obtained and verified, and background checks, including fingerprinting are conducted.
WHAT DO CASA VOLUNTEERS DO?
Prior to being appointed to a case by the Juvenile Court Judge or Magistrate, the volunteer completes a 32 hour specialized pre-service training program. Once assigned a case, the volunteer begins getting to know the child and investigating everything to do with the child’s life. With the guidance of a staff Advocacy Coordinator, the volunteer interviews and gathers information from the child, family members, neighbors, teachers, social workers and other professionals who may have knowledge about the child. Based on this investigation, the volunteer prepares a report of their observations and recommendations regarding the child’s best interests which they then present in court to a Magistrate with the assistance of their Advocacy Coordinator. Approximately 95% of CASA volunteer’s permanency recommendations are accepted by the Court and included in its final order.
A CASA VOLUNTEER MUST SERVE AS:
An impartial observer, conducting an independent investigation
An information gatherer, obtaining all relevant facts about the child
A reporter, to prepare and present written reports to the Court
A monitor, to ensure that the Court’s orders are carried out
Most of all, an advocate for the child’s best interest
- 21 years old
- A minimum of a high school diploma
- Fingerprint background check
- Ability to attend court during working hours
- No felony convictions or felony or misdemeanor charges pending involving a sex offense, child abuse or neglect, domestic violence or any other offense that might pose a risk to a child
- Complete 32 hours of initial pre-service training
- Complete 12 hours of annual in-service training
- Maintain confidentiality of all child, family and court information
- Ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing
- Ability to respect and relate to people from various backgrounds
- The desire to advocate for a child and be his/her voice in Court.
- Be available for 3-5 hours per week to dedicate to CASA work
- Commit to the length of a case (average 12-18 months)