You can be a voice for a child who's been abused or neglected and is now living in foster care.
Imagine a child being removed from their home and family. Everything that they have loved, and cared about is different. Even though their home wasn't safe, they still want to be with their family, in their own home and room. But now their reality is not just the abuse or neglect, but a world filled with people they don't know and who they are not sure they can trust. Decisions are being made on their behalf, but one person is there just to speak for them - a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer.
CASA volunteers are not foster parents, they are, as their name suggests, court advocates who speak for and recommend services and resources for children while they are living in foster care. They are often the only consistent adult during a very turbulent time in a child's life.
A CASA volunteer is a court appointed, trained and committed adult who ensures that each child’s individual needs remain a priority in an overburdened child welfare system. They get to know the child while also gathering information from the child’s family, teachers, doctors, therapists, caregivers, and anyone else involved in the child’s life in order to make independent and informed recommendations to help the judge decide what’s best for the child. CASA volunteers are entitled to access information about the child's situation and required to make reports to the court in the child's best interest.
As a CASA volunteer, you:
Spend quality time with the children you are assigned
Communicate with the children, their parents, relatives, teachers, doctors, counselors, caregivers and anyone else involved in the child’s life
Review the children's case files
Gather and document information
Formulate recommendations, in the form of a court report, on what is in the best interest of the children
Submit court reports and present your recommendations to the judge in the courtroom
Who can volunteer?
CASA volunteers come from every walk of life and share a commitment to improving children’s lives, a willingness to learn and an open mind towards life experiences different from their own. No special education, experience or background is needed.
Follow these five steps to become a CASA volunteer.
Step 2: Apply, via an online application, to be accepted into training.
Step 3: Complete all of your pre-training paperwork, including an interview and background check.
Step 4: Sign-up for the next training session.
Step 5: After a full training session of 35 hours is completed, and all of your paperwork is completed and cleared, you are sworn in as an official court advocate and will be assigned your first case.
For Upcoming Volunteer Training Sessions and Events visit our calendar.