FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is a CASA Volunteer?
What is the CASA Volunteer’s role?
How Does a CASA Volunteer Investigate a Case?
To prepare a recommendation, the CASA volunteer talks with the child, parents, family members, social workers, school officials, health providers and others who are knowledgeable about the child’s history. The CASA volunteer also reviews all records pertaining to the child — school, medical and caseworker reports; and other documents.
Is There a “Typical” CASA Volunteer?
CASA volunteers come from all walks of life, with a variety of professional, educational and ethnic backgrounds. Aside from their CASA volunteer work, approximately 50% are employed in regular full-time jobs.
How does the CASA volunteer relate to the child they represent?
CASA volunteers offer children trust and advocacy during complex legal proceedings. They explain to the child (depending on the child’s age) the events that are happening, the reasons they all are in court, the roles the judge, lawyers, and social workers play. CASA volunteers also encourage the child to express their own opinion and hopes, while remaining objective observers.
How Much Time Does it Require?
How long does a CASA volunteer remain involved with a case?
The volunteer is asked to continue with a case until it is permanently resolved. One of the primary benefits of the CASA program is that, unlike other court principals who often rotate cases, the CASA volunteer is a consistent figure in the proceedings, and provides continuity for a child.
How does a CASA volunteer differ from a social service caseworker?
State governments generally employ social workers or family case managers. They sometimes work on as many as 50 to 60 cases at a time and are frequently unable to conduct a comprehensive investigation of each. The CASA worker is a volunteer with more time and a much smaller caseload (an average of 1-2 cases at a time). The CASA volunteer does not replace a social worker on a case; They are an independent appointee of the court. The CASA volunteer can thoroughly examine a child’s case, has knowledge of community resources, and can make a recommendation to the court independent of state agency restrictions.
How does the role of a CASA volunteer differ from an attorney?
The CASA volunteer does not provide legal representation in the courtroom. That is the role of an attorney. However, the CASA volunteer does provide crucial background information that assists attorneys in presenting their cases. It is important to remember that CASA volunteers do not represent a child’s wishes in court. Rather, they speak to the child’s best interests.
How effective have CASA programs been?
Preliminary findings show that children who have been assigned CASA volunteers tend to spend less time in court and less time within the foster care system than those who do not have CASA representation. Judges have observed that CASA children also have better chances of finding permanent homes than non-CASA children.
What are the requirements to become a CASA volunteer?
- Be 21 years of age or older
Have a minimum of a high school diploma or GED equivalent
Submit an online application
Provide 3 personal/professional references
Successfully pass all criminal and child welfare background checks
Successfully complete an interview with CASA staff
Complete 30 hours of pre-service training + 12 hours of continued education annually
Complete pre-service court observation time