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What do CASA volunteers do?

The CASA volunteer's job is to ensure that the child is protected, to ensure that a stable home is provided, to ensure that a thorough family assessment is made, and to help the child find a safe and permanent home.

It is not the CASA volunteer's job to make decisions about the child's future. Rather, the CASA volunteer makes recommendations to the court to help the court to make the best possible decision. In addition, the CASA volunteer is not a "big brother" or "big sister." While friendships definitely develop between the CASA volunteer and the child, the primary purpose of the CASA volunteer is not to entertain the child, but rather to conduct research in order to make objective recommendations and advocate for the child's best interests.

Research is an important part of the CASA volunteer's activities. CASA volunteers conduct interviews and observe the children and significant people in their lives. They review a variety of reports, including social service, medical, school, psychological and criminal records. They attend meetings with the other professionals involved with the children and their families. They outline options and make written and oral recommendations in court regarding the short and long term best interests of the children. They advocate for needed services. They monitor court ordered plans to ensure the children's best interests are being met.

After completing a training process, CASA volunteers are equipped to ensure that the child to whom they've been assigned does not get lost in the overburdened legal and social service system or languish in inappropriate group or foster homes. Volunteers stay with each child until his or her case is closed and the child is returned home or placed in a new safe and permanent home. For many abused children, their CASA volunteer will be the one constant adult presence in their lives

Expectations for CASA volunteers

Prospective CASA volunteers and Guardians ad Litem must complete a written volunteer application. Prospective volunteers must also complete a screening process that includes an interview, written references, a criminal background check and fingerprinting. All volunteers must complete 40 hours of pre-service training and 12 hours of continuing education annually. CASA volunteers also receive ongoing support and supervision from local CASA program staff; the CASA staff are there to answer questions, consult on challenging situations, provide additional education and resources as needed, and encourage our treasured volunteers. Lastly, CASA volunteers will receive reimbursement for their mileage and parking expenses.

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