If you are concerned about the children in our community who have been removed from their homes due to neglect or abuse, and you want to prevent them from getting lost in the system, then you already have what it takes to become a CASA volunteer! All you need is a little bit of training in how best to be an advocate for these children, and the willingness to make an 18-month commitment to the program.
CASA provides volunteers with 30 hours of training in how to investigate the circumstances surrounding a child’s situation by talking with parents, teachers, counselors, the case-worker, the child, and anyone else who might be able to shed light on the problems and needs of the child. You will then take the information you have gathered and prepare a report with your recommendations regarding the best interests of the child. You will also attend any court or related meetings to help develop a plan for the child’s reunification with his/her parents or placement with another family if reunification is not possible.
The actual time commitment on a monthly basis varies and is quite flexible, but it generally involves 2-5 hours per week for the first month of a new case and then 3-5 hours per month after that. Volunteers are generally assigned only one case at a time, though each case may have more than one child in the family.
Serving as a CASA volunteer is not necessarily an easy job and it isn’t for everyone. It requires an ability to communicate well with a variety of people, from children to attorneys. It requires an eye for detail and a willingness to pursue information even when that entails difficulty. And, it does involve writing. Volunteers who have access to computers and a command of the English language make the staff’s jobs much easier.
Mainly, being a CASA volunteer requires your compassion and willingness to advocate for a child — to speak up for a child in court. You may or may not be rewarded with a truly wonderful outcome on your case … you may be able to help a severely abused child get a new start in life with a loving family … you may just do the best you can. We do know that the child you are assigned to will have a chance of a better life in a stable home if you are involved.
The next step is to complete the CASA Volunteer Application Form and call the CASA office at 237-0889 to set up an interview appointment with a Case Manager. Thank you for making a difference in the life of a child in our community!