HOW/WHEN ARE CASA'S ASSIGNED?
Judges typically assign CASA volunteers to the most difficult and complex cases involving physical or sexual abuse and neglect. Several other factors are also considered in making this decision:
- The instability of the child's current placement.
- The presence of conflicting case information.
- Concerns about the implementation of special services, such as medical care, counseling and education assistance.
1) Complete the online application.
The application will take approximately 30 minutes to complete. Be prepared to provide address history for the past 20 years, and three references (personal and/ or professional) and their email address.
2) Interview with CASA staff.
Once the application is completed, CASA staff will contact you to schedule an interview to ensure you and the program staff know CASA is the right volunteer opportunity for you.
3) Successfully complete background checks.
CASA staff will initiate the background checks after initial acceptance into the program.
4) Attend and successfully complete CASA training.
Your local CASA program provides a 30 hour training. In class and on-line options are available.
5) Attend a swearing-in ceremony at Court.
Commitment: The vast majority of cases last one to two years, and the amount of time spent on a case per month typically averaging 5 hours per month. Volunteers must make case time a priority in order to provide quality advocacy.
Objectivity: Volunteers research case records and speak to everyone involved in a child's life, including their family members, teacher, doctor, lawyer, social worker and others. Their third-party evaluations are based on facts, evidence and testimonies.
Communication skills: Once a volunteer has fully evaluated a case, they prepare a written report outlining their recommendation for the child's placement. They must be able to speak with authority as they present their rationale to the judge in court.
CASA volunteers undergo a thorough training and development program that consists of at least 30 hours of pre-service training, followed by 12 hours of yearly in-service training. Volunteers learn about courtroom procedure from the principals in the system – judges, lawyers, social workers, court personnel and others. CASA volunteers also learn effective advocacy techniques for children, and are educated about specific topics ranging from seminars on child sexual abuse to discussions on early childhood development and adolescent behavior.
After completion of the initial training, volunteers are sworn in as Officers of the Court. This gives them the legal authority to conduct research on the child's situation and submit reports to the court.