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“Flex Training” Option for Pre-Service Volunteer Curriculum

Recognizing the trend that volunteers are more pressed for time and require more flexibility, National CASA has undertaken a multi-year initiative to overhaul our pre-service training for volunteers. In the past, the only tool we have provided our programs is a 30-hour in-person training curriculum.

We have heard many positive comments about the newest version of our pre-service Volunteer Training Curriculum, which was updated most recently in 2007. One persistent comment, however, is that continuing to require 30 hours of in-person training can be a barrier to volunteer recruitment.

As a result of trends in volunteerism and our network’s feedback around the length of in-person training, we are embarking on a project to develop a flex training option. With this option, volunteers will have the opportunity to complete their training through a series of combined in-person and online activities. This project, which has been partially underwritten through a generous grant from the American Legion Child Welfare Foundation, is projected to go through a pilot phase this summer. Pending feedback from this phase, we anticipate that this new, flexible format of the Volunteer Training Curriculum will be available to programs toward the beginning of 2012. CASA programs will have the choice of whether to utilize the new option.

While the content included in this version of the curriculum will align with what is currently in use, the format will be very different. Trainees will spend about 15 hours learning about child welfare legislation, cultural competency, working with children and families and communication skills through various online activities. Some of these activities will require trainees to interact with one another through discussion boards and other technology. Trainees will then have the opportunity to apply what they’ve learned from the online training during a series of interactive case studies, which will make up the bulk of their 15 hours of in-person coursework.

More details about this alternative, flexible training option will be released once the curriculum has been piloted and revisions have been completed.

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