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Frequently Asked Questions
What is a CASA?
A Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) is a trained community volunteer who is appointed by a juvenile court judge to advocate for the best interests of an abused or neglected child in juvenile court dependency proceedings. The CASA volunteer gathers information about the child’s situation, attends court proceedings and makes a recommendation to the judge so that the judge has the information to make a decision about the child’s future. A CASA volunteer protects a child’s right to be safe, to be treated with dignity and respect, and to learn and grow in the safe embrace of a loving family.
What does a CASA Volunteer do?
A CASA Volunteer gathers independent information about the child in foster care and makes recommendations to the Judge in the child's best interests. CASAs seek cooperative and common sense solutions with other participants in the child's case. They review records, attend court hearings, and identify potential resources within the family and community to meet the child's needs. Most importantly, CASA visits with the child at least once a month to build a relationship and a support for the child while they are experiencing foster care. The CASA volunteer is a consistent adult in the child's life while the child is placed in foster care. CASA volunteers maintain focus on the child until permanency is achieved.
CASAs spend an average of 5 hours a month volunteering on their own schedule, including visiting their assigned child at least once per month.
What are the required qualifications?
The main qualification is a sincere care for the well-being of children. The volunteer must be a mature adult with good verbal and written communication skills. A CASA volunteer must be available to attend all court hearings. The volunteer must be able to commit to the program for at least one year or, preferably, until the case is resolved. Essential qualities include the ability to be objective and non-judgmental. Every volunteer must complete a 40 hour comprehensive training program.
What are the training requirements?
The process of becoming a CASA volunteer requires a written application including three personal/professional references, a criminal records check and a federal fingerprint check. The minimum age for becoming a CASA volunteer is 21 years of age. A personal interview will be conducted by a staff member before a person is admitted into a training class. The volunteer must complete 40 hours of required training, which will include court observation. The fully trained and screened volunteer will be sworn—in by the juvenile court judge prior to the assignment of their first case. A CASA's appointment lasts until a case is resolved. CASA volunteers are also required to complete 12 hours of in-service training per year.
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