Volunteer Advocate Info
Nobody longs for a safe and loving family more than a child in foster care. As a court appointed special advocate volunteer, you are empowered by the courts to help make this dream a reality. You will have an opportunity to bring positive change to the lives of these vulnerable children, and in doing so you will enrich your life as well.
What is the role of a CASA volunteer?
A CASA Volunteer is a trained community volunteer appointed by a Family Court Judge to speak for the best interests of an abused and/or neglected child. A CASA works as an official part of the judicial proceedings, working alongside attorneys and social workers, making recommendations in the regards to services, placement, visitation, reunification, and permanency.
By handling only one to two cases at a time, the CASA has the time to thoroughly explore the history and circumstances of each assigned case. Volunteers get to know the child by talking with everyone in that child’s life: parents and relatives, foster parents, teachers, medical professionals, attorneys, social workers and others. They use the information they gather to inform the judge and others of the child’s needs and what the best permanent home would be.
Who is qualified to be a CASA?
No special educational background or expertise is required. We welcome people from all walks off life. People from all cultures, ethnic backgrounds, professions, and educational backgrounds are welcomed and encouraged to apply. We’re looking for people who care about children. If you have good people skills, common sense, and have the ability to be empathetic and non-judgmental, you could make a difference in the life of a child.
What are the requirements to become a CASA?
The National CASA Association requires volunteers to:
- Be at least 21 years old
- Successfully complete a screening interview and background checks
- Complete an initial training program and yearly ongoing training requirements
- Take an oath of confidentiality
- Be available for court appearances (with advanced notice)
- Commit to the CASA program, dedicating approximately 10 – 15 hours a month, until your first case is closed (a year and a half, on average)
What does a CASA Volunteer do?
The primary responsibilities of a CASA Volunteer are to:
- Gather information: Gather documents; interview the children, family members and professionals in their lives.
- Research: Review the court records and information gathered.
- Document findings: Provide a written report for court hearings.
- Appear in court: Advocate for the child’s best interests and testify in court when necessary.
- Recommend services: Identify and advocate for services for the child.
- Monitor case plans and court orders: Check to see that plans are being followed.
- Stay engaged: Visit the child regularly, and help the child understand the court proceedings and decisions until the child is in a safe, permanent home.
- Keep the court informed: Update the court on development with agencies and family members.
Initial Training – CASA volunteers are required to attend 30 hours of initial training. Volunteers also have the opportunity to observe court proceedings to become familiar with the system prior to handling cases and testifying.
Continuing Education – All volunteers receive ongoing training through in-service seminars and learning opportunities to help volunteers through the challenges of child advocacy. Volunteers must complete a minimum of 12 hours of continuing education per year.
Supervision: Per Kentucky law, CASA limits 30 volunteers to each staff member. Advocate Coordinators maintain contact with volunteers, share information and resources, review the volunteer’s court reports, participate in home visits, attend court with CASA volunteers, ensure compliance with policies, and provide other forms of support.