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Court Appointed Special Advocates are volunteers from the community who advocate for children who are victims of abuse and neglect. A judge from the local juvenile and domestic relations court appoint trained, court-inducted volunteers to cases where children are going through the child welfare system due to some degree of abuse or neglect.
What do children gain from having a CASA volunteer?
Without a CASA volunteer, children are more likely to experience homelessness, drug use, and unwanted pregnancy. In addition, CASA volunteers are a source of hope and support for child victims as they wait for the courts to decide a permanent, safe housing situation. Advocates help children access the services they need to heal from their abuse, as well as gather and provide information to the judge on the case in order to help him or her make a decision that is in the best interest of the child.
Are CASA volunteers trained and supervised?
CASA volunteers undergo 36 hours of initial training and 12 hours of continuing education each year. Each volunteer advocate works with a CASA staff supervisor who provides guidance throughout the court process.
Can anyone be a volunteer?
Our volunteers come from all walks of life, and most are employed full-time. Volunteers must be 21 or older, undergo a background check and take part in a personal interview. Candidates must also be able to use a computer and have access to the Internet, as training and continuing education is somewhat computer-based. Volunteer advocates are patient, open-minded people who have good communication skills, a history of following through on commitments and a willingness to accept guidance. Above all, they care about children.
How much time does it take to be a CASA volunteer?
Time commitments generally range from fifteen to twenty hours per month. Most of this time can be spent in evenings or on weekends, but there are approximately three to four court hearings per year, as well as phone calls and occasional meetings during working hours.