CASA Volunteer Advocate Job Description
A CASA volunteer advocate is a trained community volunteer appointed by a judge to speak for the best interests of an abused and neglected child. A CASA volunteer advocate works as an official part of the judicial proceedings, working alongside attorneys and social workers. By handling only one or two cases at a time, the CASA volunteer advocate has time to thoroughly explore the history and circumstances of each assigned case.
CASA Coaches and/or CASA Managers provide direct supervision and guidance to CASA volunteer advocates.
Major Duties and Responsibilities
- Complete an extensive, independent review of each case:
- Meet face-to-face with child at lease once a month;
- Speak with the child and relevant adults (parents, family members, school officials, doctors, and others involved in the child's life who might have facts about the case);
- Review appropriate records and reports;
- Observe the child and significant others.
- Report findings to the court by submitting formal reports to the court at every scheduled hearing/review:
- Provide a written report containing factual information to the program office two weeks prior to every hearing;
- Attend court hearings concerning the child.
- Ensure representation of the child's best interest:
- Attend all court hearings to see that all relevant facts are presented;
- Attend appropriate interagency meetings regarding the child;
- Participate in case conferences concerning the child.
- Monitor case following a court hearing or decision as designated by the court:
- Ensure that the judicial and child welfare systems are moving ahead to secure a safe, permanent home for the child;
- Ensure that court-ordered services are provided to the child and family.
- Consult regularly with CASA Coach and/or CASA Manager concerning assigned case:
- Develop a plan for advocacy;
- Review progress and reports.
- CASA volunteer advocates are required to attend approximately 40 hours of pre-service training and 12 hours of in-service training annually.
- CASA volunteer advocates are also required to successfully complete a six-month, on-the-job training with an assigned CASA Coach or CASA Manager.
- CASA volunteer advocates follow guidelines established by the National CASA Association.
- CASA volunteer advocates have access to additional training opportunities offered by other agencies.
- CASA volunteer advocates receive guidance from Program Managers.
- CASA volunteer advocates are encouraged to call their CASA Coach or CASA Manager at any time with any questions/concerns.
- CASA volunteer advocates are required to make a 24-month commitment to the program.
- CASA volunteer advocates are required to attend all court hearings on their cases.
- CASA volunteer advocates are expected to available for case assignment and to accept cases immediately upon completion of pre-service training unless other arrangements have been made.
- CASA volunteer advocates, on the average, spend 10-15 hours a month on each case.
Necessary Knowledge and Skills
- Ability to keep all client ad court information confidential.
- Ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing.
- Ability to respect and relate to people from various backgrounds.
- Ability to transport self.
- Ability to maintain objectivity.
- A basic understanding of child development and family relationships.
- Good common sense.
- Must be 21 years of age.
There are many benefits to volunteering as a CASA volunteer advocate. These include the opportunity to:
- Make a difference in the life and future of a child who has been a victim or abuse and/or neglect;
- Help a child/children find permanency in a safe, loving home;
- Assist judges in obtaining a clear picture of a child's life and needs;
- Gain an understanding of the courts, legal proceedings, and social service agencies;
- Develop/utilize communication skills;
- Develop/utilize assertiveness;
- Utilize your past experience/skills;
- Form friendships with like-minded people in your community;
- Have access to training.