Children in need of a CASA now
Santa Maria Valley
Out of County
Nobody longs for a safe and loving family more than a child in foster care. As a court-appointed special advocate (CASA) volunteer, you are empowered by the courts to help make this dream a reality. You will not only bring positive change to the lives of these vulnerable children but also their children and generations to come. And in doing so, you will enrich your life as well. See the impact a CASA volunteer can make.
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What is the role of a CASA Volunteer?
CASA volunteers get to know the child they are assigned to by talking with everyone in that child’s life: parents and relatives, foster parents, teachers, medical professionals, attorneys, social workers and others. They use the information they gather to inform judges and others of what the child needs and what will be the best permanent home for them. A CASA volunteer fulfills six main roles:
- Meet with the child once per week for at least one hour;
- Gather information from all interested parties, such as attorneys, social workers, teachers, caregivers, therapists, etc.;
- Keep an eye out for any unmet needs of the child, and advocate for those needs to be met
- Write a court report to the juvenile court judge for each hearing concerning the child. The report gives the judge the information the advocate has gathered, what the advocate believes to be in the child’s best interests, and what the child would like to have happen
- Attend all court hearings regarding the child (usually once every six months, sometimes more frequent)
- Monitor the case by doing all of the above until the child is placed in a safe, permanent, and nurturing home
Who can be a volunteer?
You do not have to be a lawyer, social worker, or professional in the field to be a volunteer. We welcome people from all walks of life. We are simply looking for people who care about children and have common sense. As a volunteer, you will be thoroughly trained and well supported by professional staff to help you through your case.
You must pass a background check, participate in a 30-hour pre-service training course and agree to stay on a case until it is closed (a year and a half on average).
Interested in helping children but not ready to commit to becoming a volunteer advocate? Learn about other volunteer opportunities.
Expectations of Volunteers
CASA Volunteers are expected to make a commitment to the child they serve. That means meeting with their assigned child at least once a week, talking to the different parties involved to get a clear, unbiased overview of the child’s situation, protecting the confidentiality of the child’s case, and sticking with the child until the case is closed.
There are a few limitations to a CASA’s role. As a CASA volunteer, you cannot take the child to your home, introduce them to your family members, or stay overnight with the child. You will be able to talk to teachers, doctors, family members, parents, social workers, and others involved in your child’s case. Through the 30-hour pre-service training, you will learn more about the role of a CASA volunteer.
You won’t have to face it alone
At the completion of training, you will be assigned an Advocate Supervisor. They are there to support you all along the way. They will help you find the right case and create a case plan before you even begin. As a CASA volunteer, you will take on a great deal of responsibility, stress, frustration, joy, and fulfillment. We want to hear from you when things are going well, but even more, we want to hear when things are tough so we can help you through them. Our office is always open to you, and we have a 24/7 emergency line so you will never be left to face things alone.
“If it weren’t for you, school would have been harder. If it weren’t for you, I would not have started school with new clothing, and I would not have had a dress for the prom. If it weren’t for you, I might not have had the courage to pursue writing poetry, and I would never have met professional poets who encouraged me. Without you, who would have helped me figure out which college to choose? Because you were my CASA, I was able to figure out how to be me. Thank you.”
~ A note from a CASA youth to her CASA volunteer
The 5 C's of a CASA Volunteer
Consistent commitment to
- To our mission and values
- To our standards
- To our kids
Doing the right thing even when it is:
- A desire to really know the child
- Withholding judgment until the facts are in
- Continued learning and training
- Building rapport with all parties
- Maintaining regular communication with the Advocate Supervisor
- Communicating professionally and with confidentiality
Working with an Advocate Supervisor to tell the child’s story and needs through the court report:
- On time
Volunteer Job Description
Have more questions?
We want to answer any questions you may have. We’re also more than happy to discuss becoming a CASA volunteer over coffee, lunch, or whatever you like! Fill out this short form, and our Recruiting and Outreach team will get back to you soon.