CASA - The Voice of Clark County's Children
(A Court Appointed Special Advocate Program)
What does CASA do?
CASA is an organization of screened and trained volunteers. The CASA volunteer is appointed by the court to a childs case and is an officer of the court. The volunteer is responsible for taking the time to find out as much as possible about the child. They search for information and review records. They interview parents, talk to teachers, social workers, health providers, neighbors, and most importantly spend time with the child. The CASA volunteer does not provide legal representation, that is the role of an attorney. As an independent, objective observer, and based upon the information, the volunteer submits a report to the court and recommends what is best for the childs future. The volunteer will also appear in court and attend hearings regarding the childs case.
Unfortunately, the courts are seeing an increasing number of children in abuse and neglect cases, and more volunteers are needed.
Who are CASA volunteers?
CASA volunteers are ordinary citizens, age 21 or over. They come from diverse backgrounds and many work full-time. Some are students or retired persons. The most important qualities in a volunteer are commitment, objectivity, good communication skills, and they care about children.
How does a volunteer relate to the child?
The volunteer must have regular, in-person contact with the child, sufficient to have in-depth knowledge of the case and make fact based recommendations to the court. The volunteer encourages the child to express his/her own opinion and hopes.
What is the time commitment?
The new CASA volunteer will attend 30 hours of training sessions. This training will give the volunteer the tools to get the job done. Following that, there is an annual requirement of 12 hours of continued training.
Most CASA volunteers work one case at a time. It is estimated that a volunteer will spend approximately 10 to 15 hours doing research and conducting interviews prior to the first court appearance. After that, the volunteer will spend an average of 5 to 10 hours per month on their case, depending the level of activity. Volunteers are asked to commit to a child until the legal proceeding is over and the child is able to go home, is adopted or achieves permanency in a safe and stable home.
What does the training include?
Volunteers will be trained in social service and case management, the court systems and procedures, and the needs of children and family dynamics. Once you have completed your training, you will be sworn in as an officer of the court.
How do I become a volunteer?
To become a volunteer, you will need to fill out an application, submit references, attend a face-to-face interview, and since you will be working with children, a criminal background check will be performed.
For further information, please contact:
Shay Grahn, Program Director
CASA - The Voice of Clark County Children
P.O. Box 866
Jeffersonville, IN 47131-0866
Phone: (812) 285-0743
Fax: (812) 285-0751