State & Local Programs

National CASA Volunteer Curriculum Preview

The National CASA/GAL Association Volunteer Training Curriculum gives volunteers a solid base of knowledge and skills to begin their volunteer work. It serves as a guide during the mandated 30-hours of pre-service training and is an important resource for volunteers throughout their service. 

Curriculum elements include:

  • Content: The centerpiece of each chapter, presented in a variety of ways to appeal to different learning styles
  • Case studies: Encourage learners to apply their new knowledge to a case in a safe, practice environment
  • Homework: Assigned at the end of each chapter
  • Resource materials: Allow for more in-depth exploration of a topic
  • Glossary: Defines curriculum terms, as well as those common to volunteer advocacy work

Preview the curriculum (500 KB PDF)

Volunteer Curriculum Goals

Chapter 1: Introducing the CASA/GAL Volunteer Role 

  • Explore the goals and purpose of volunteer training
  • Learn to recognize child abuse and neglect
  • Be introduced to roles and responsibilities of a CASA volunteer

Chapter 2: Introducing the Law, the Child Protection System & the Courts

  • Increase understanding of child abuse and neglect and development of child advocacy laws
  • Learn about laws, child protection system and court procedures

Chapter 3: Developing Cultural Competence

  • Become familiar with current thinking about cultural competence, diversity and the adverse effects of bias and discrimination
  • Better understand cultural influences and personal biases
  • Increase cultural competence and sensitivity in volunteer work

Chapter 4: Understanding Families, Part 1

  • Learn a strengths-based approach to understanding families and children
  • Understand child abuse and neglect indicators and risk factors
  • Consider how stress, mental illness and domestic violence impact families

Chapter 5: Understanding Families, Part 2

  • Increase understanding of families and ability to assess family situations of children
  • Consider how issues of substance abuse and poverty impact families and children 

Chapter 6: Understanding Children 

  • Learn about child development, attachment, separation and loss, permanence and resiliency
  • Become familiar with educational, emotional and psychological issues that affect children.

Chapter 7: Communicating as a CASA/GAL Volunteer

  • Practice communication skills needed to interview and observe children, deal with conflict and work collaboratively with others on a case
  • Increase understanding of confidentiality and privacy issues

Chapter 8: Practicing the CASA/GAL Volunteer Role - Gathering Information

  • Learn about the elements of a child's court case
  • Become familiar with court forms
  • Practice skills necessary to gather necessary information

Chapter 9: Practicing the CASA/GAL Volunteer Role - Reporting and Monitoring

  • Practice skills necessary to write an effective court report, appear in court and monitor a case

Chapter 10: Putting It All Together

  • Identify volunteer self-care methods
  • Become familiar with local office procedures
  • Revisit importance of focusing on the child's needs
  • Review expectations of the training experience and the course material

 

 

The US Department of Justice has supported CASA advocacy since 1985 through its Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
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