Become a Volunteer Special Advocate at CASA
The road to becoming a Court Appointed Special Advocate begins with an interview conducted by CASA staff. Before the volunteer starts class, he/she completes an application, provides four names for reference checks, and gets fingerprinted for a criminal background check.
The CASA class consists of thirty hours of classroom training. Volunteers learn about confidentiality, efficient documentation, court report writing, the function of the juvenile court system, and much more. After successfully completing the course, the new volunteers are sworn in by the current juvenile judge, making them recognized officers of the court. As an officer of the court, they have access to important information they will need to advocate for the child, or children, they are assigned to. The new CASAs become an extra set of independent eyes and ears for the juvenile judge.
Advocate training includes classes on:
- The Juvenile Court Process
- Cultural Awareness
- Investigating and Interviewing
- Dealing with difficult people
How Advocacy Works
Volunteers are assigned to a case by CASA staff members, who then support them in their role as advocates. The Court Appointed Special Advocate starts on the path investigating, coordinating, advocating, and monitoring the case of the child, or children, they have been assigned. CASA stays with that child or children until the case is closed – meaning they have been returned safely home or been adopted into a new family.
Three Roles of the Volunteer
As a child advocate, the CASA volunteer has three main responsibilities:
- Serving as a fact-finder for the judge by thoroughly researching the background of each assigned case.
- Speaking for the child in the courtroom; representing the child’s best interests.
- Acting as a “watchdog” for the child during the life of the case ensuring that it is brought to a swift and appropriate conclusion.
Qualifications to become a CASA Advocate:
- A desire to help children
- A minimum of 21 years of age
- Pass a routine background check
- Provide four (4) references
- Give 10- 15 hours per month of time
- No legal or social work background is needed
If you are interested in learning more about becoming a CASA Advocate call (217) 428-8424.
Online Volunteer Application
If you have any questions or need assistance with the Online Volunteer Application or Login, please phone the CASA office: (217) 428-8424Volunteer Online Application