The CASA Role
CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates. CASAs are specially trained volunteers who are appointed as "Officers of the Court" to an abused or neglected child. Their role is to make recommendations to the Court about what is in the child's best interest.
The volunteer will draw together this information by getting to know the child and gathering information from other persons who are involved in this child's life. CASA volunteers are an active part of the child's team that is working toward ensuring that the child has a safe, stable and permanent home.
Other members of the team may include the child's Department of Family and Children Services foster care worker, foster parents, biological parents, extended family, teachers, doctors, and therapists.
What does a CASA do?
- Visits with the child regularly
- Reviews the social service agency and Court records
- Gathers information about the child from:
- Social workers
- Anyone else important in the child's life
- Identifies family and community resources that can help meet the child's needs
- Problem solves with the professionals involved in the child's case
- Prepares written reports for Court hearings
- Participates in Court hearings
- Participates in team meetings
- Provides testimony to the Court if requested
- Ensures that the child's wishes are known to the judge
- Meets regularly with the CASA case supervisor for support and guidance
- Keeps the focus on the child until he/she is in a safe, stable permanent home
- Maintains confidentiality at all times
Who are the CASA children?
In the Coastal Plain CASA program, volunteers are appointed to children between the ages of birth to 18, who have been abused or neglected and are in the foster care system. Our children are come in all colors, shapes and sizes.
All of them have suffered the trauma of abuse and neglect and being separated from their family, friends, pets, school, and neighborhood. Their whole world has been turned upside down and they now find themselves living with strangers.
- In addition, many of our children suffer from:
- learning disabilities
- developmental delays
- physical disabilities
- emotional issues
These injured children are:
The longer these children are in the system, the more chaotic their lives become; moving from foster home to foster home, changing schools, social workers who come and go, family who no longer visit.
Volunteers receive 35 hours of training that involves independent study, class time, and court observation.
- understanding the judicial and child welfare systems
- cultural awareness
- the impact of family issues such as substance abuse, mental illness and family violence
- building collaborative relationships
- practicing the CASA role
- writing court reports
Is CASA Right for You?
- care about children
- Are at least 21 years of age
- Live or work in Tift, Turner, Irwin or Worth Counties
- Are objective and non-judgmental
- Have a flexible enough schedule to attend Court hearings and meetings
- Have enough time in your schedule to spend 10-15 hours a month working on behalf of a child
- Can participate in 12 hours of continuing education training per year
- Can make a minimum one year commitment
- Have good written and verbal communication skills
- Possess basic computer skills such as email and word processing
- Have reliable transportation
Then CASA is right for you!
How Do I Become a CASA?
- Submit a completed application, click here to apply
- Provide four (4) references
- Participate in pre and post training interviews
- Pass state and federal criminal background checks
- Pass child protective service and sex offender registry screening
- Have a clean driving record verified through the Motor Vehicle Administration
- Successfully complete 35 hours of training
Frequently Asked Questions
Can CASA children visit or participate in activities with my family?
No. The identity of the child and his/her family is confidential and cannot be shared with anyone except the CASA staff and those directly involved with the child's case.
How many cases does a CASA volunteer work on at a time?
Each CASA is assigned to one child, or sibling group, at a time.
What type of experience do I need to become a CASA?
Our CASAs come from all walks of life. There is no specific experience needed to become a CASA.
What type of ongoing training do CASAs receive?
So that our volunteers are as up-to-date on current information as possible, we provide 20 hours of free continuing education per year. CASA volunteers are required to participate in 12 hours per year. Program staff also notifies volunteers of any free or low cost training that is available in the community.
What kind of support do CASAs receive?
All volunteers are assigned to a professional case supervisor who is responsible for providing support and guidance. Volunteers meet with their supervisors on a monthly basis to discuss their case and plan the course of action for the next month.
How much paperwork do CASAs have to complete?
CASAs write a court report whenever there is a hearing, usually every three or six months. A first draft of this report will be submitted to the case supervisor three to four days before the hearing. Volunteers also keep detailed records of their contact with everyone involved in the case.
Can I work full-time and be a CASA volunteer?
Many CASA volunteers are employed full-time. Some flexibility is necessary to allow for attendance at Court hearings and other meetings that may be held during normal business hours.