What is a CASA?
A CASA is a Court Appointed Special Advocate, someone who stands up for the children. Imagine the experience of children who are removed from their home, their family, their siblings, and everything they know and care about. They find themselves in a world filled with social workers, lawyers, judges, and courtrooms where life-altering decisions are made on their behalf.
Requirements for Becoming a CASA
As a CASA volunteer, there are certain requirements you must meet prior to actually being appointed to a case with a foster child.
A CASA volunteer is required to:
Be 21 years of age or older
Attend a CASA orientation.
Complete a Volunteer Application.
Participate in a screening interview with CASA staff.
Successfully pass a criminal background check and provide documentation of a safe driving record.
Attend all training sessions and scheduled court tours.
Participate in a swearing-in ceremony conducted by the presiding County Juvenile Court Judge, where you become an officer of the court and mandated child abuse reporter
Once sworn in by the court, as a CASA volunteer, you now will:
Spend quality time with the child or children you are appointed to.
Communicate regularly with the child(ren)’s parents, relatives, teachers, doctors, therapists, caregivers, and anyone else involved in the child’s life.
Serve as a fact finder for the Juvenile Court judge by thoroughly researching the background of the assigned case.
Attend Continuing Education training.
Participate in case meetings and review case files.
Gather and document information on your case.
Formulate recommendations on what is in the best interest of the children.
Submit a court report and present your recommendations to the judge in the courtroom.
Speak on behalf of the child in the courtroom, representing his or her best interests.
You're not alone! CASA of Gage County provides ongoing training and support for every volunteer.
BECOME A CASA ADVOCATE?
Here's the difference they make.
Children with a CASA volunteer are half as likely to spend time in long-term foster care.
Cases involving a CASA volunteer are more likely to be permanently closed.
Children with a CASA volunteer do better in school, are more likely to pass all courses, and less likely to have poor conduct in school.
Children with a CASA volunteer receive more services that are critical to their well-being.
When you volunteer for CASA, you give hope to a child who has been the victim of abuse or neglect. Become a volunteer Advocate, help with fundraising, work with others planning an event, or volunteer in the office.
CASA® Volunteers have two primary goals:
1) To ensure that a child’s needs are being met while in foster care (under the court’s jurisdiction); and
2) To advocate for permanency on behalf of a child.
CASA Volunteers visit their children, attend court and Family Support Team meetings, and visit with people who know the child.
The information that the volunteer learns is then submitted to the presiding Judge on the child’s case, in the form of a court reporter, to help inform the court about a child’s wishes and well-being.