Frequently Asked Questions
How do I become a CASA?
It begins with a phone call to your local CASA program. CASA volunteers are highly valued by the juvenile court, the children, and the community. To prepare you for the unique demands of this position, all advocates undergo 30 hours of training prior to being sworn in.
How long is my commitment to CASA?
Each CASA program determines the required length of a volunteer’s commitment – typically from 1 to 2 years. Since CASAs work with, and on behalf of, children it is important that they remained long enough to actually make a difference. Many advocates find their work so rewarding that they stay involved much longer.
How are prospective volunteers screened?
Each CASA volunteer goes through a comprehensive background check that includes fingerprinting and at least here letters of reference. We work on behalf of abused and neglected children – we need to make sure their advocates are properly trained and thoroughly screened.
How much time will I be expected to contribute each month?
Every child and every case is different. The amount of time required will vary depending on the age of the child, the time of year, and the needs presented. Most programs report that volunteers devote an average of ten to twelve hours per month.
When I am a CASA, how many children will I work with?
The true strength of CASA comes from having one child assigned to one CASA volunteer. However, effective advocacy also takes the needs of the child into account – sometimes it makes sense to have the CASA work with two siblings. If your child’s case closes, you can ask to be assigned to another child.
How old are the children involved?
CASA may be assigned to any court-involved youth. This means that your child’s age can range from newborn up to 18.
What types of cases are CASAs assigned?
CASAs are assigned to children who have been abused or neglected and need the Court’s protection. Also, CASA can be appointed to juvenile wards. Some live at home with their parents and some live in foster care with relatives, foster parents or groups homes.
What educational or work experience is required to become a CASA volunteer?
None. Your life experience, common sense, and drive to help is all the background you need – in fact, it is what makes you the most valuable. CASAs are people – just like you – who bring a fresh set of eyes to the case. You will receive training and supervision to ensure that you know what you are doing, but your best asset is that you do not work in the foster care system every day.
What are the responsibilities of a CASA volunteer?
A CASA volunteer is not only the child’s friend, but also a trusted ally and strong advocate. As a CASA, you will investigate the child’s situation – talk to the child, and others involved in the case. Then, you present your information to the court and make recommendations that can change the child’s life for the better.
Is a CASA volunteer a mentor?
CASA volunteers can become quite close to their child; they can become a friend, mentor and supportive adult. In addition to any trusting relationship that develops, however, CASAs have a higher duty to advocate for their child. CASAs investigate, communicate, form opinions and provide recommendations to the judge. As a CASA, your role is to help ensure that your child is safe, well cared for, and finds a permanent home.
How does a CASA volunteer differ from a Social Services worker?
A CASA volunteer does not replace a caseworker or social worker on the case, but is an independent, sworn officer of the court who has been appointed to help define the best interests of the child. CASAs work with social workers to ensure that the child does not fall through the cracks.
How does a CASA volunteer differ from an attorney?
A CASA volunteer cannot provide legal representation – even if they are an attorney. In Oklahoma, dependent children have an attorney who represents the legal interests and wants of the child. As a CASA, your role will be to do an independent investigation of the child’s situation, and make recommendations to the court. As a CASA, your input will be invaluable because you will have taken the time to know the child. You will provide a common-sense based opinion on how to serve their best interests.
How is a CASA relieved from their assigned case?
A CASA can resign or be removed by an order from the judge.
More questions? Contact Little Dixie CASA for further assistance.