Volunteer Job Description
Court Appointed Special Advocates are trained community volunteers appointed by juvenile court judges to speak for the best interests of youth who have been placed into the protective custody of the child welfare system due to abuse or neglect.
A Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) is an official part of judicial proceedings, working alongside attorneys and social workers. By handling only one or two cases at a time the CASA volunteer can thoroughly explore the history of each assigned case. The volunteer talks with the youth, parents, family members, neighbors, school officials, doctors and others involved in the youth’s background who might have facts about the case. The volunteer reviews all court facts about the case and the volunteer also reviews all court documents pertaining to the case. He or she then is expected to submit formal reports to the Judge at every scheduled hearing/review. The CASA volunteer continues to monitor the case to assure that the judicial and child welfare systems are moving ahead to secure a safe, permanent home for the youth, and that court-ordered services are provided to the youth and family. The CASA is an invaluable resource for the attorney for the youth and social worker in reaching their goals for permanency.
Supervision: Direct supervision and guidance is provided by the case supervisor(s). CASA volunteers fill out a monthly supervision sheet.
Major Duties and Responsibilities:
- Complete an extensive, independent review of each case:
- Face-to-face meetings with youth regularly/weekly (a min of at least once a month);
- Speak with the youth and relevant adults (parents, family members, school officials, doctors and others involved in the youth’s life who might have facts about the case);
- Review appropriate records and reports;
- Observe the youth and significant others.
- Report findings to the court by submitting formal reports to the Judge at every scheduled hearing/review:
- Provide a written report containing factual information to the CASA office 10 business days prior to every hearing;
- Attend court hearings concerning the youth.
- Ensure representation of the youth’s best interest:
- Attend all court hearings to see that all relevant facts are presented;
- Attend appropriate inter-agency meetings regarding the youth;
- Participate in case conferences concerning the youth.
- Monitor case following a court hearing or decision as designated by the court:
- Ensure that the judicial and child welfare systems are moving ahead to secure a safe, permanent home for the youth;
- Ensure that court-ordered services are provided to the youth and family.
- Consult regularly with the volunteer coordinator concerning assigned case:
- Develop a CASA case plan;
- Review progress and reports;
- CASA volunteers are required to attend approximately 30-35 hours of pre-service training and 12 hours of in-service training annually.
- CASA volunteers follow guidelines established by the National CASA Association.
- CASA volunteers have access to additional training opportunities offered by other agencies.
- CASA volunteers receive direct supervision and guidance from program staff.
- CASA volunteers are encouraged to call their volunteer coordinator at any time with questions/concerns.
- Volunteers are required to make a eighteen-month commitment to the program.
- Volunteers are required to attend all court hearings on their cases – approximately 2 per year.
- Volunteers are expected to be available for case assignment and to accept cases immediately upon completion of pre-service training, unless other arrangements have been made.
- CASA volunteers, on the average, spend 20-25 hours a month on each case.
Although we cannot provide you with monetary rewards, there are many benefits to volunteering as a CASA. These include the opportunity to:
- Make a difference in the life and future of a youth who has been a victim of abuse and/or neglect;
- Help a youth find permanency in a safe, loving home;
- Assist judges in obtaining a clear picture of a youth’s life and needs;
- Gain an understanding of the courts, legal proceedings, and social service agencies;
- Develop/utilize communication skills;
- Develop/utilize assertiveness;
- Utilize your past experience/skills;
- Form friendships with like-minded people in your community;
- Have access to training statewide
Necessary Knowledge and Skills:
- Ability to keep all client and court information confidential.
- Ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing.
- Ability to respect and relate to people from various backgrounds.
- Ability to transport self.
- Ability to maintain objectivity.
- A basic understanding of child development and family relationships.
- Good common sense.
- Does not require specific educational training beyond a high school diploma or GED.
- Must be 21 years of age.