Exactly what does a CASA volunteer do?
CASA volunteers are appointed by judges to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in court and other settings. The primary responsibilities of a CASA volunteer are to:
- Gather information: Conduct thorough research through the review of documents and records, and speaking with children, family members, and professionals.
- Document findings: Provide written reports for court hearings.
- Appear in court: Advocate for the child’s best interests and provide testimony when necessary.
- Recommend services: Ensure that the children and their family are receiving appropriate services and advocate for those that are not immediately available. Bring concerns about the child’s health, education, mental health, etc. to the appropriate professionals.
- Monitor case plans and court orders: Check to see that plans are being followed.
- Keep the court informed: Update the court on developments with agencies and family members.
Can I work full time and still volunteer?
A large percentage of our CASA volunteers work full time and find the CASA experience flexible enough to accommodate their schedules. Our volunteers spend, on average, between 2-5 hours per week during the life of a case. CASA volunteers do go to court several times a year, and regularly attend family visits and occasional meetings that take place during the workday. The majority of these are set with ample advance notice. Many CASA volunteer duties – such as visiting with the child, reading reports and records, and sending e-mails — can be done outside of regular work hours and on the volunteer’s own time.
- Minimum 12 month commitment, the average length of a case
- Complete new volunteer training
- Visit child/children at least once per month
- Write court reports
- Maintain confidentiality
Do I need to have any special skills or meet any other requirements?
No special background or education is required to become a CASA volunteer. We encourage people from all cultures and professions, and of all ethnic and educational backgrounds to volunteer. Once accepted into the program, you will receive all necessary training in courtroom procedures, social services, the juvenile justice system, and the special needs of abused and neglected children.
What sort of support will I receive?
You will be supported every step of the way by your Case Supervisor. You will also have opportunities for continuing education locally with Lake Country CASA, and have access to online resources provided by Texas CASA.