CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate.
It sounds much more complicated than it really is, I promise! Being a CASA volunteer just means that you are appointed by a judge and given legal access to all the necessary resources in order to make a recommendation to the court for what is in the best interest for a child.
CASA volunteers are needed in the foster system where case workers are understaffed and overworked. Often times, the children fall through the cracks and get lost in the shuffle.
CASA is a great way to get involved in orphan care and advocate for vulnerable children. You may just become the most stable adult in their life. You will definitely make a lasting impact. You can show them that somebody cares and somebody is listening.
Here is how it works. When a child (or children) are pulled from their home because a case was substantiated for abuse or neglect, they become wards of the state. A herd of strangers then enter their lives while the legal system deals with their parents. A CASA volunteer is appointed specifically by the judge to the child. That’s it. Your only job as a CASA volunteer is to spend time with your kid (or kids) and find out what they really want. What services do they need? Where do they want to ultimately live? What do they want to happen through all of this?
You don’t need to have a special background or any other training except for the training that CASA provides. It looks a little different in each state (that is, how CASA is set up and how training is done), but my CASA trainer was able to come to my house to train me while my baby slept or played on the floor. It was amazing.
Time wise, it averages 10 hours a month. Such a small commitment for such a big impact.
In my CASA cases I have witnessed in court, more than once, the judge make a recommendation for the child that was specifically from the report I wrote to the judge.
If you have addtitional questions about CASA you can check here for FAQ’s that are answered pretty thoroughly. Please (please!) don’t hesitate to reach out to me to learn more as well.