FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can a Child Advocate really make a difference?
Who can be a CASA volunteer?
How much time is required?
How do I begin?
Do I need special training to be a CASA volunteer?
What does it take to be a CASA volunteer?
What does a CASA volunteer do?
Who are the children being represented?
What if I need help with my CASA child?
Research studies have shown that the introduction of just one caring adult can change that child’s life forever. With volunteer advocates, children who have had only rejection and disappointment from adults learn to trust and hope and love. A CASA volunteer makes a profound and positive difference for abused children.
CASA volunteers are professional level volunteers who are ordinary people doing extraordinary things. They come from all walks of life with a variety of professional, educational and ethnic backgrounds. Most work full time, some are retired, but they all care about kids and want to make a difference. No special skills are required – only the desire and commitment to help children who have been abused or neglected. CASA volunteers must be 21 years old and be willing to make a minimum commitment of two years in order to ensure stability for the children we serve.
A CASA volunteer generally sees a child on an average of 10 to 15 hours per month to fulfill their volunteer responsibilities. Approximately every six months, volunteers submit reports and attend court hearings regarding the child.
How do I begin?
All potential CASA volunteers complete a screening process that includes an informational meeting, written application packet, submission of fingerprints, background clearances, reference checks and a personal interview. After the application is completed, an interview will be set up with a panel consisting of a CASA staff member and two CASA volunteers. Upon determining you are ready to be a CASA volunteer, you will be accepted into a training class.
Yes. CASA volunteers receive 33 hours of classroom training, plus homework and court observations prior to being assigned a case. The curriculum is designed to inform volunteers about courtroom procedures, the dynamics of abuse and neglect, cultural differences, and effective advocacy techniques. Volunteers are also required to attend a minimum of 12 hours of In-Services held throughout the year.
COMMITMENT: When a CASA volunteer takes on a case, he/she takes on a child’s future. CASA volunteers are asked to stay with the case until it is resolved. This may take a year or (usually) longer. The amount of time given to a case will vary depending on the stage of the proceedings and the complexity of the case.
OBJECTIVITY: The CASA volunteer’s role is to represent the best interests of the child, and that may not always be what the child wants. CASA volunteers must be willing to talk to everyone involved in the case in order to get a clear picture of the child’s life. The CASA volunteer must remain objective and base their recommendations on the information they have gathered. Most importantly, the CASA volunteer visits the child at least once a month in order to gain an understanding of his/her situation. CASA volunteers are professional level volunteers – the cream of the crop.
COMMUNICATION SKILLS: CASA volunteers must be able to talk to a wide variety of people, from healthcare professionals to school officials to an angry parent. CASA volunteers must be able to articulate their findings in writing and present the court with a unique “child centered” perspective to help the Judge make the best decisions for these children.
RESEARCH: CASA volunteers thoroughly research the case they are assigned by reading documents and speaking to everyone involved, including the child.
FACILITATE: The CASA volunteer works with the other parties in the case to ensure that the case is progressing and that the Court’s recommendations are being followed. The CASA volunteer also facilitates visits among the siblings and/or family members. The CASA volunteer attends meetings to represent the best interests of the child.
ADVOCATE: The CASA volunteer writes reports to the judge, providing information that will help him/her make an informed decision about the child’s future. CASA volunteers can be instrumental in assuring that a child or family receives needed services that the court has ordered – things such as substance abuse counseling or special education testing.
MONITOR: During the life of a case, the CASA volunteer monitors the child’s situation to make sure the child’s needs are being addressed and that a permanency plan is being developed. CASA volunteers may be the only consistent adults the child knows as he/she moves through the maze of the child welfare system.
The children represented by CASA volunteers range from birth through 18 years of age and come from a wide range of cultural backgrounds. They have arrived in the court system as a result of abandonment, being born drug addicted, having been battered, sexually abused, or not receiving basic needs (food, medical care, shelter, supervision, etc.,). The CASA volunteer’s preferences are considered when assigning a case.
Each volunteer is supported by a Volunteer Peer Coordinator, who is an experienced CASA volunteer. The Peer Coordinator serves as a mentor/coach to the newly trained volunteers. Each volunteer is also assigned to a CASA Program Supervisor, who are available to answer any questions and provide additional guidance, support and supervision. Most importantly, CASA volunteers have the support of each other.
National studies have shown that a child who has been assigned a CASA volunteer spends less time in court and less time in foster care than those who do not have CASA volunteer representation. We want to be able to provide a CASA volunteer to every abused/neglected child caught up in the 8th Judicial District Court System of Clark County Nevada.
CLICK HERE to request more information about becoming a CASA volunteer or call (702) 455-4306.