What Does It Mean to Be a CASA Volunteer?

Becoming a CASA volunteer is an investment of time, energy and heart. But as one volunteer said and many have echoed: "It wasn't about what I gave them, it was what they showed me."

Though some aspects of your experience will vary from state to state, the following are generally true for volunteers in programs nationwide.

How much time does it take to be a CASA volunteer?

All volunteers must complete a 30-hour pre-service training. The time commitment to a case varies depending upon the stage of the case. Volunteers sometimes say that there is a greater amount of work in the beginning of the case, when they are conducting their initial research. On average, you can expect to spend approximately 10 hours a month on a case.

Do I need to make a long-term commitment to the program?

You are asked to dedicate yourself to a case until it is closed. The average case lasts about a year and a half. Most programs require that a volunteer commit to serve for at least one year.

Do I need to have any special skills or meet any requirements?

No special background or education is required to become a volunteer. We encourage people from all cultures and professions, and of all ethnic and educational backgrounds. Once accepted into the program, you will receive all necessary training in courtroom procedures, social services, and the special needs of abused or neglected children.

Requirements include:

  • Be 21 years old
  • Be willing to complete necessary background checks, provide references and participate in an interview 
  • Complete a minimum of 30 hours of pre-service training
  • Be available for court appearances, with advance notice
  • Be willing to commit to the program until your first case is closed

Meet some of the volunteers who are speaking up for children across the country.

Exactly what does a CASA volunteer do?

CASA (or guardian ad litem, in some locations) volunteers are appointed by judges to advocate for the best interests of children who have been abused or neglected, in court and other settings. The primary responsibilities of a CASA volunteer are to:

  • Gather information: Review documents and records, and interview the children, family members and professionals in their lives.
  • Document findings: Provide written reports at court hearings.
  • Appear in court: Advocate for the child's best interests and provide testimony when necessary.
  • Explain what is going on: Help the child understand the court proceedings.
  • Seek cooperative solutions: Seek solutions among individuals and organizations involved in the children's lives.
  • Recommend services: Ensure that the children and their family are receiving appropriate services and advocate for those that are not immediately available. Bring concerns about the child's health, education, mental health, etc. to the appropriate professionals.
  • Monitor case plans and court orders: Check to see that plans are being followed and mandated review hearings are being held.
  • Keep the court informed: Update the court on developments with agencies and family members. Ensure that appropriate motions are filed on behalf of the child so the court knows about any changes in the child's situation.

What sort of support will I receive?

You will be supported every step of the way by your local program, and have opportunities for continuing education and access to resources provided by the National CASA Association.

How do I become a CASA volunteer?

Start by finding your local program and inquiring about becoming a volunteer:

State
Location: Within   miles of ZIP code  
    

National CASA Association | 800.628.3233 | 100 West Harrison, North Tower, Suite 500, Seattle, WA 98119 | staff@casaforchildren.org

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