FAQs about being a CASA
Thank you for your interest in becoming a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer with Franklin Hampshire CASA. Volunteers are essential to our program and we welcome your gifts of time & talent! CASA Volunteers come from all walks of life. We welcome community members from a variety of professional, educational and cultural backgrounds. We invite potential volunteers to join the CASA movement based on these qualities: objectivity, competence, and commitment. What is a CASA volunteer?
A Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer is a trained citizen who is appointed by a judge to represent the best interests of a child in court. The children are most often victims of abuse and neglect. What are the requirements to become a CASA volunteer?
We require all potential CASA volunteers to complete an application process, be at least 21 years of age, have reliable transportation, and be able to commit to at least 18-24 months with the Program.
Once we have completed an initial telephone screening, we will arrange for a one hour interview. The goal of the interview is for us (you & our staff) to determine if becoming a CASA is the best fit for you. It is also an opportunity for you to ask any additional questions. At that time, we will also be asking you to fill out a waiver form, giving us permission to conduct a criminal background check.
If we both decide it’s a good fit, you will be invited to be part of one of our next training classes.
CASA Training consists of 24 hours in the classroom and an additional 6-8 hours of online training. Classes are held in the spring and fall. What is the CASA volunteer’s role?
A CASA volunteer provides a judge with carefully researched background information about the child to help the court make a sound decision about that child’s future. Each case is as unique as the child involved. The CASA volunteer must determine if it is in a child’s best interest to stay with his or her parents or guardians, be placed in foster care, or be freed for permanent adoption. The CASA volunteer makes a recommendation on placement to the judge and follows through on the case until it is permanently resolved. How does a CASA volunteer investigate a case?
To prepare a recommendation, the CASA volunteer talks with the child, parents, family members, social workers, school officials, health providers and others who are knowledgeable about the child’s history. The CASA volunteer also reviews all records pertaining to the child — school, medical, and caseworker reports, and other documents. How do lawyers, judges and social caseworkers support CASA?
Juvenile Court judges implement the CASA program in their courtrooms and appoint volunteers. CASA has been endorsed by the American Bar Association, the National Bar Association, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention of the U.S. Department of Justice. How effective are CASA programs?
Research suggests that 95% of the children who have been assigned CASA volunteers tend to spend less time in court and less time within the foster care system than those who do not have CASA representation. Judges have observed that CASA children also have better chances of finding permanent homes than non-CASA children. How much time does a CASA dedicate as a volunteer?
Each case is different. A CASA volunteer usually spends about 10-15 hours a month doing research and conducting interviews. More complicated cases take longer. How long does a CASA volunteer remain involved with a case?
The volunteer continues until the case is permanently resolved. One of the primary benefits of the CASA program is that, unlike other court principals who often rotate cases, the CASA volunteer is a consistent figure in the proceedings and provides continuity for a child. The Franklin Hampshire CASA Program requires an 18-24 month volunteer commitment.