You can’t control where abused children come from, but you can have something to do with where they end up. Become a volunteer child advocate, or a CASA Friend.
CASA Volunteers Are Ordinary People
CASA volunteers include men and women of all ages and walks of life. Most hold full-time jobs, others work part-time, are homemakers or retired. They have a variety of professional, educational and cultural backgrounds. They are not required to have special degrees in social services or to be attorneys. They are “everyday” people, probably a lot like you. They share a love for children and a strong desire to make a positive difference in a child’s life.
CASA Volunteers are Highly Trained
CASA volunteers are carefully screened and receive 30 hours of comprehensive training plus 6 hours of court observation before they are sworn-in as official CASA volunteers by Judge Brandon, the Juvenile Judge in St. Clair County. In addition, CASA volunteers are required to earn 12 hours of in-service training credits each year through participation in special agency programs, outside events, books and other educational opportunities approved by Mechiko White, the agency’s Executive Director.
CASA Volunteers Are Independent Investigators
The Juvenile Judges determine which cases will be appointed CASA volunteers. Once appointed, CASA volunteers serve as the “eyes and ears” of the court. They independently research all aspects of their assigned child’s life (living conditions, family and school situation, medical needs, special needs, etc.), make sure the child is safe, and develop written, factual reports with recommendations in the child’s best interests. These recommendations are read and seriously considered by the judges. They often influence the judges’ final decisions regarding a child’s permanent placement.
CASA Volunteers Focus on A Child
CASA volunteers work with social service professionals, case workers and attorneys as peers and equals. However, whereas caseworkers handle an overwhelming number of cases at one time, the CASA volunteer handles only 1 or 2 cases. In addition, caseworkers handle the issues of entire families while CASA volunteers focuse only on the best interests of their assigned children. This means that the CASA volunteer is often the person in the court room who knows the most about what an individual child’s wants and needs.
CASA Volunteers Are Highly Committed
Most CASA volunteers spend several hours a week on their cases, although this amount varies depending on the complexity and stage of each particular case. This time is spent on interview preparation, investigations, documentation and report writing. Contacts are made both over the phone and with personal visits. Volunteers commit to 18 months of service once they are assigned to a child, in order to stay with the case until it is fully resolved. Volunteers provide a child with one consistent, caring person during this very difficult time.
CASA Friends Are Always Needed
If you aren’t able to become a volunteer child advocate, consider becoming a CASA friend and volunteering to help us in the office and with fundraising.
CALL CASA OFFICE for UPCOMING TRAINING DATES