Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA)
A Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) is a volunteer who is appointed by a Juvenile Court judge to advocate for abused or neglected children, to make sure they don't get lost in the overburdened legal and social service system or languish in inappropriate groups or foster homes. 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 help the judge and others understand what the child needs and to help the child find a safe, permanent home.
Benefits of Being a CASA Volunteer
As a CASA volunteer, you will ultimately help to change a child's life for a brighter future. You can help to end the cycle of abuse and neglect. Among many other benefits, you will have an opportunity to learn about the juvenile court system and become actively involved in your community.
Who Can Volunteer
You do not have to be a lawyer or a social worker to be a volunteer. We are looking for people who care about children and have common sense. As a volunteer, you will be thoroughly trained and well supported. Some requirements include passing a background check, participating in a training course, and agree to stay with the case until it is closed, usually 1-1 ½ years on average.
- 21 years+
- Pass criminal background checks
- Good verbal and written communication skills
- Ability to be objective and non-judgmental
- Read here about why someone may not be accepted as a CASA volunteer (PDF).
How to become a CASA
- Read the letter from Gordon County CASA to potential CASA volunteers (PDF).
- Complete an application, including 4 personal/professional reference (PDF).
- Undergo criminal background checks
- Be interviewed by the CASA director
- Complete 40 hours of training (Click here for the training agenda PDF).
- Be sworn in by the Juvenile Court Judge
Responsibilities of a CASA Volunteer
- Read a more full job description (PDF).
- Visit the child
- Explain the role of a CASA Volunteer
- Gather independent information about the child to include in your report to the judge
- Seek cooperative solutions with other participants in the child's case
- Speak with the parents, guardians or caretakers, social worker, and other service providers
- Review records related to the family
- Prepare written reports for court hearings
- Attend and participate in court hearings and other related meetings
- Identify potential resources within the family and community to meet the child's needs
- Keep all records and information confidential
- Monitor provisions of service plans and court orders
- Ensure the child's wishes are known to the judge
- Advocate for the child in the community
- Consult with local CASA program staff for support and guidance
- Maintain focus on the child until permanency is achieved
- Read more about what a CASA volunteer does (PDF).