- What do Court Appointed Special Advocates do?
- What is required of being a CASA Volunteer?
- What is the time commitment required?
- CASA Swearing-In Ceremonies
What do Court Appointed Special Advocates do?
- CASA volunteers are appointed by the court to conduct an independent investigation for the case. They are sworn in as officer’s of the court.
- The CASA volunteer maintains weekly contact with the child, (or in most cases a sibling group of children) to establish a relationship with the child(ren) to better understand the minor’s needs; assess and make recommendations to the Court concerning the best interests of the child(ren).
- The CASA volunteer gathers independent information from attorneys, social workers, parents, school personnel and other’s who are involved with the child. From the information gathered, the CASA will submit a written report to the court.
- CASA volunteers appear in court for review hearings.
- CASA volunteers monitor the child’s case as it goes through the court system to help ensure that the child’s needs are being met and advocate for all necessary services.
- CASA volunteers provide a consistent source of support for the child during the court process.
What is required of being a CASA Volunteer?
- A CASA volunteer must be at least 21 years old and accepted into the CASA program. A 30 hour training program must be completed.
- A CASA volunteer must have the ability to work with children, family members and professionals using concern, tact and basic human relations skills.
- A CASA volunteer must respect and be able to relate to people with different values and from various backgrounds (economic, educational, and cultural) in a variety of settings.
- A CASA volunteer must not have any current involvement with juvenile or dependency court.
- A CASA volunteer must have the ability to gather and accurately record factual information, and maintain objectivity.
What is the time commitment required?
- CASA volunteers must commit to serve one case for eighteen months or until a permanent plan for the child(ren) has been implemented.
- CASA volunteers spend an average of 12-15 hours each month on their cases.
- You must attend a 30-hour training program prior to court certification.
- You are expected to attend monthly case support and training sessions with other CASA volunteers.
- You are required to complete 12 hours of continuing education per year.
CASA Swearing-In Ceremonies
Upon completing the necessary training, provided by Sheryl Brink, the CASA Coordinator of Ottawa County, Court Appointed Special Advocates are sworn in as officers of the court by Judge Mark Feyen.
A Swearing-in involves a ceremony where friends and family, court personnel, the CASA Coordinator, the Executive Director of Pathways and the Judge gather together to celebrate the accomplishment of the individuals completing all the requirements of their training, much like a graduation of sorts. The Judge Speaks to the CASA’s about the importance of the new role and the value it has to the court, then has them take an oath of office, and declares them officers of the court. The CASA Coordinator then presents them with their certificates, their ID badge and business cards. Afterwards a reception is held by the Friends of CASA of Ottawa County to celebrate the new Volunteers.