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The mission of CASA is to speak for the best interests of abused and neglected children in the courts. We promote and support quality volunteer representation for children to provide each child a safe, permanent, nurturing home.
Exactly What Does a CASA Volunteer Do?
CASA volunteers are appointed by the Guardian ad Litem attorney to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children. The primary responsibilities of a CASA volunteer are to:
- Gather Information : Review documents and records, interview the children, family members and professionals in their lives.
- Document Findings: Provide written reports to the GAL attorney in preparation for all court proceedings.
- Appear in/Attend Court: Advocate for the child's best interests and provide testimony when necessary.
- Explain What is Going On: Help the childunderstand the court proceedings. "Be the Glue": Seek cooperative solutions among individuals and organizations involved in the children's lives. As one volunteer said: Be the glue that connects the pieces in a complicated child welfare system.
- Recommend Services: Ensure that the children are receiving appropriate services by keeping the guardian informed of any needs currently not being addressed. Bring concerns about the child's health, education, mental health, etc. to the guardian's immediate attention.
- Monitor Case Plans and Court Orders: Assist the Guardian by reporting any deviation from what the court has ordered for the life of the case.
- Keep the Guardian Informed: Update the Guardian on developments with all participating agencies and family members.
- Visit with the Child: maintain a consistent and regular visiting schedule with the child.
The CASA Program is not a mentoring program. CASA volunteers gather information for the Guardian they are working with. During the assignment process clear instruction is given by the Guardian to the CASA as to what information the Guardian is seeking. It then becomes the responsibility of the CASA to obtain the information and provide it to the Guardian.
- Volunteers must be 21 years of age or older
- Pass a BCI (background check) and Child Abuse Registry screening
- Complete 32 hours of training
- Make a one year minimum commitment. A CASA advocate visits with their assigned child once a week with a total time investment of 8-10 hrs. a month.
Please contact your local CASA Program Coordinator Melaniems@email.utcourts.gov for training information.