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CASA Volunteers Advocate for Children

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CASA or Court Appointed Special Advocates, advocate for children in court and are the only volunteer organization that appoints everyday citizens as representatives, or officers of the court. A CASA is appointed by a judge to speak on the behalf of an abused and/or neglected children. CASA volunteers usually handle one case at a time and commit to staying with a case until a child is in a permanent home. This is typically 18 months. A CASA worker may be one of the only constants in a child's life due to high turnover in social work.

History:

Seattle Superior Court Judge David Soukup was not comfortable making decisions for abused and neglected children without proper information. In 1977, he developed the idea of having community volunteers to advocate for children in court. His initial request for volunteers ended with 50 stepping up to take on that needed role. Thus, began the CASA movement.

Today, there are 50,000 advocates serving in 948 state and local programs nationwide, advocating for 225,000 children.

The Need for More Volunteers:

There is a great need for more CASA volunteers as approximately half of the children in foster care today have a CASA worker.

To Become a CASA You Need:

  • To pass a background check.
  • Complete a 30-hour training course.
  • Average about 10 hours of service per month.
  • Commit to staying with a case until it ends, which is typically 18 months.

Typical Duties of a CASA Include:

  • Investigate and review all documents and conduct interviews of all relevant persons in the case.
  • Taking into consideration a child's age and maturity, determine the child's feelings and thoughts about their case and situation.
  • Be a facilitator of peace among conflicting parties in a case by seeking resolutions.
  • Write reports for each hearing including your findings and recommendations.
  • Appear at all hearings.
  • Explain to the child your role as a CASA volunteer.
  • Recommend services for the child and child's family.
  • Make sure that the case plan and court orders are being followed.

  • Inform the court of any new developments in the case or if an agency is failing to provide services or if the family is not participating.
  • Bring any concern regarding the child's health or education to the appropriate team member to make sure that the child's needs are met.
All volunteers are supervised and have resources available.

To learn more about volunteering go to the National CASA site and enter your zip code.

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