Court-appointed special advocate (CASA) volunteers speak for children who have been victims of abuse and neglect.
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Understand that CASA stands for court-appointed special advocate. CASA volunteers give generously of their time to help children who are the victims of neglect or abuse.
Know that judges appoint CASA volunteers to represent children who are the subject of an abuse or neglect proceeding. The volunteer gets to know the child, the parents, the foster parents and other important parties and then makes recommendations to the court as to the child's best interests.
Realize that being a CASA volunteer is a long-term commitment. Volunteers are assigned to a case for a full year and are often the only stable person in the child's life, as the child may be transferred among caseworkers, foster homes and lawyers.
Go to the CASA Web site (nationalcasa.org) and obtain information about how to contact your state's CASA organization. Tell them you would like to volunteer your time to help children who have been abused.
Understand that to become a volunteer you will have to undergo training to learn about foster care, abuse and neglect, your state's laws, HIV, education and poverty.
Expect to meet area CASA volunteers and coordinators, judges, caseworkers and attorneys during your training.
Tips and warnings
- To be successful as a CASA volunteer, you need to be able to communicate orally and in writing and you need to be able to establish a rapport with children.