CASA is an acronym for “Court Appointed Special Advocates”.
The requirements to become a CASA volunteer include the following:
- You must be at least 21 years old.
- Willingness to complete necessary background checks, provide references, and participate in an interview.
- Willingness to complete the required 30 hours of pre-service CASA Volunteer Training. This training series is offered four times throughout the course of the year.
- Willingness to complete observation hours in Hardin County Family Court.
- Availability for court appearances with advance notice.
- Willingness to commit to the CASA program and your CASA child for at least two years.
We encourage people from all cultures, professions, ethnicities, and educational backgrounds to apply. Once accepted into the program, you will receive all necessary training in courtroom procedures, social services, the juvenile justice system, and the special needs of abused and neglected children.
CASA volunteers are appointed by judges to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in Family Court and other areas of the child’s life including school, therapy, and the Child Welfare System. The primary responsibilities of a CASA volunteer are to:
- Gather information: Review documents and records; meet with the assigned case child (or children) on a regular basis; speak with family members and professionals in their lives.
- Document findings: Provide written reports and recommendations at Family Court hearings.
- Appear in court: Advocate for the child's best interests and provide testimony when necessary.
- Explain what is going on: Help the child understand the court proceedings.
- Facilitate Collaboration: Seek cooperative solutions among individuals and organizations involved in the child's life. As one volunteer said, “Be the glue that connects the pieces in our complicated Child Welfare System.”
- Recommend services: Ensure that the child and his/her family are receiving appropriate services, and advocate for those who are not immediately available. Bring concerns about the child's health, education, mental health, etc., to the appropriate professional’s attention.
- Monitor case plans and court orders: Ensure that plans are being followed and mandated review hearings are being held.
- Keep the court informed: Update the court on developments with agencies and/or family members which may affect the child’s welfare, recovery, or stability. Ensure that appropriate motions are filed on behalf of the child so the Court knows about any changes in the child's situation.
Our Support Staff members act as “Advocate Volunteer Managers.” They are available 24/7 to answer questions, assist CASA volunteers in writing court reports, act as sounding boards, provide advice, attend home visits or other meetings with CASA volunteers as needed, and act as liaisons between CASA volunteers and other organizations when necessary.