What Volunteers Do
CASA volunteers listen first. Then they act.
Volunteers get to know the child 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.
CASA volunteers are appointed by judges to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in court. 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.
- Focus: The key to a CASA's success is advocating for just one case at a time. The average volunteer commitment is just 15 hours over an entire month.
- Document findings: Provide written reports at 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.
- "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 and their family are receiving appropriate services and advocate for those that are not immediately available. Bring concerns about the child's health, education, mental health, etc. to the appropriate professionals.
- Monitor case plans and court orders: Check to see that plans are being followed.
- Keep the court informed: Update the court on developments with agencies and family members.
No one longs for a safe and loving family more than a child in foster care. As a CASA volunteer, you are empowered by the courts to help make this dream a reality. You may be the only consistent adult in these children’s lives, vigilantly fighting for and protecting their fundamental right to be treated with the dignity and respect every child deserves. 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.