Court-Appointed Special Advocate for Children
Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) provide a voice in the court for a child involved with the Dane County child welfare system for a case of abuse, neglect, or other situation impacting the child’s safety, permanency, or well-being. This is a crucial role for some of Dane County’s most vulnerable children.
CASAs are appointed by and act as the eyes and ears for the juvenile court judge. Advocates make weekly visits to their assigned child (either in the parental home, foster home, residential treatment facility, at school, or in the community), as well as correspond with caregivers, teachers, and other service providers to get a complete picture of the child’s history and current circumstances. CASAs, with the support of Dane County CASA staff, provide written reports to judges and parties to the case, helping them to make more informed decisions that ensure the child reaches a safe and permanent home as soon as possible. CASAs also work cooperatively with social workers, attorneys, and other professionals involved in the case to recommend and coordinate services that support the best interests of the child.
If you're interested in this rewarding volunteer opportunity, please fill out a Dane County CASA volunteer application: https://wi-dane.evintosolutions.com/VolunteerApplication
Please note: Our next training class will likely be Spring 2021.
Duties and Activities
- Weekly meetings with an assigned child, as well as ongoing communication with family members and other professionals involved in their case.
- Review and monitor documents and records related to the case, including checking that case plans and court orders are being followed.
- Advocate for the child’s best interests to the court and raise concerns about the child’s health, education, mental health, etc. with the appropriate professionals.
- Keep the court informed by providing written reports for court hearings, appearing in court when necessary, and updating the court on developments with agencies and family members.
- Work cooperatively with individuals and organizations involved in the child’s life to ensure that the child and their family are receiving appropriate services. As one volunteer said: Be the glue that connects the pieces in a complicated child welfare system.
- Minimum 12 month commitment.
- A minimum of 1 weekly (1-2 hour) visit with the assigned child.
- Estimated 8-12 hours monthly to prepare weekly status updates, monthly court reports, and communicate with other professionals involved in the case.
- Be at least 21 years old with high school diploma or G.E.D.
- Complete a Volunteer Application, clear a background check, and attend a volunteer interview.
- Attend trainings specific to the volunteer position.
- Ability to work with a diverse population.
- Ability to maintain confidentiality and objectivity.
- Access to reliable transportation.
- Warm, friendly demeanor and positive attitude.
Preferred Knowledge and Skills
- Computer skills and familiarity with Microsoft Office.
- Excellent organizational skills.
- Personal and/or professional experience with child protective agencies, foster care, juvenile court, or other child service agencies.
- Bilingual volunteers strongly encouraged to apply.
- Direct experience for those interested in counseling, social work, law, and other related fields.
- Learn about issues facing children and families with special needs.
- Develop communication and report-writing skills.
If you have any questions or concerns about the position, please feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
About Canopy Center
2445 Darwin Road, Suite 15, Madison, WI 53704, US
Canopy Center's mission is to help strengthen families and support children, teens, and adults impacted by trauma and adversity. We are committed to providing culturally competent and diverse professional, volunteer, and peer services.
Canopy Center is a child abuse treatment and prevention agency which was created in 1977 by a young mother who had been abused as a child. The impact this abuse was having on her own parenting methods led her to bring a national parent support group model to Madison. While most other methods of addressing child abuse either removed children from their families or ignored abuse until it became more serious or fatal, this method worked to strengthen the family unit and address the long-term effects of child abuse. For over 40 years now, Canopy Center has protected children by helping parents end the cycle of abuse.
Today, Canopy Center is a non-profit organization providing three distinct programs, which offer support, advocacy, and therapy to families with diverse backgrounds. Our canopy of services include:
Parent-to-Child Family Interaction Program (P2C) - an extension of Dane County Human Services, which provides supervised visitation on nights and weekends to families in the foster care system.
Dane County Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) - a program that trains and supervises community volunteers to work with children in the child welfare system. CASA provides support, resources, and advocacy for these children.
Oasis Sexual Abuse Treatment - individual and group therapy for children and adults who have been victims of sexual abuse as well as their non-offending caregivers.