What is a CASA Volunteer?
A Court Appointed Special Advocate, or CASA volunteer, is a court-appointed, trained, and committed adult who represents and advocates for a child’s best interest in the child protection system. By becoming a CASA volunteer, you can help keep abused and neglected children safe, giving them a chance at finding happiness.
What does a CASA Volunteer Do?
CASA volunteers get to know the child and gather information from everyone involved in his or her daily life, including family members, foster parents, teachers, daycare providers, doctors, lawyers, social workers and other relevant persons. You spend a significant amount of time with the child, gaining his or her trust.
CASA volunteers use the information gathered to report to the judge overhearing the child’s case, advocating for their needs while placed in the foster care system. As a volunteer, you commit to representing a child’s best interests until the child reaches a safe, permanent home.
What Are The Requirements?
In addition to caring about the well-being of children:
- CASA Volunteers must be at least 21 years of age;
- Pass a background screening;
- Complete 30 hours of training;
- Be able to commit to a child until their case has closed, or for at least one year;
- Be able to volunteer a minimum of 7-12 hours per month.
How You Can Help:
Hear from CASA Staff and Volunteers:
Charonda is a CASA volunteer in Baltimore City. She’s been a CASA volunteer for about a year. She decided to become a volunteer because she was in foster care herself while growing up and had a CASA volunteer appointed to her case. In this video, Charonda describes why she became a CASA, and how her CASA volunteer helped get her adopted.
Lisa is a CASA volunteer for CASA of Anne Arundel County. She is currently advocating for an older foster youth. Here she is describing why she decided to become a CASA volunteer and a light-hearted story about when her CASA child said I love you. A true testament to the bond that a CASA volunteer can build with their CASA child/youth.
Simeon is a former foster youth who had a CASA volunteer with whom he remains close with today. He is now an advocate (non-CASA) for all children who experience similar things that he did as he grew up. Simeon attended our 1st ever Foster Youth Summit where he proved how outgoing and passionate he is.He attended the conference and spoke on our panel to share his experiences in foster care. He’s an aspiring rap artist and hopes to serve as a role model for those younger than him.
Stephanie is a CASA volunteer who experienced abuse and neglect as a child. Here she is briefly describing how children in foster care feel and why she became a CASA volunteer.
Tasha is the Senior Volunteer Coordinator/Program Coordinator of Sibling Connections for CASA of Washington County, located in Hagerstown, Md. She works with older youth in foster care who are “aging out” of the system. More info on the program she’s leading. Here she is discussing CASA, why it’s important, and why people should consider becoming CASA volunteers.