What is a CASA volunteer?
CASA stands for Court-Appointed Special Advocates. Dallas CASA is a non-profit organization of volunteers who are voices for abused and neglected children. The courts appoint CASA volunteers to gather information and make recommendations to help judges decide what is best for each child.
What do children gain from having a CASA volunteer?
CASA volunteers are a source of hope and support for child victims as they wait for the courts to decide where they may safely live. Advocates help children access the services they need to heal from their abuse, and the information and recommendations CASA volunteers provide help to expedite the court process and provide better outcomes for children under the state’s protection. For many abused children, CASA is the only constant during a frightening, uncertain time. A CASA volunteer can make an immediate and critical impact on the life of a child.
Are CASA volunteers trained and supervised?
CASA volunteers undergo 30 hours of initial training and 12 hours of continuing education each year. Each volunteer advocate works with a CASA staff supervisor who provides guidance throughout the court process.
Are volunteers really important to the court and child welfare process?
Yes. Judges depend on CASA volunteers to help keep them better informed about each child’s case. They want CASA volunteers on every case in their courts, but currently, Dallas CASA is able to serve only half of the children who need CASA volunteers. There is a child waiting for your help.
What kind of person is a CASA volunteer?
Our volunteers come from all walks of life, and most are employed full-time. Volunteers must be 21 or older, undergo a background check and take part in a personal interview. Volunteer advocates are patient, open-minded people who have good communication skills, a history of following through on commitments and a willingness to accept guidance. Above all, they care about children.
How much time does it take to be a CASA volunteer?
It will generally range from fifteen to twenty hours per month. Most of this time can be spent in evenings or on weekends, but there are approximately eight to ten court hearings per year, as well as phone calls and occasional meetings during working hours. To share the volunteer responsibilities, some volunteers partner with a friend, a spouse or other relative who also is a volunteer advocate.
How do you serve children from diverse backgrounds?
Children of all racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds enter protective care. To serve these children effectively, Dallas CASA maintains a pool of volunteers, staff and supporters who reflect the diversity of our community.
Volunteers of all races are needed. We have a special need for African-American and Hispanic/Latino volunteers, and we greatly need volunteers who speak more than one language. Racial, ethnic and cultural diversity allows us to recognize and respond to the needs of individual children and to offer informed, culturally competent advocacy. View our Unpacking Hope video to learn more.
How to learn more about becoming a CASA volunteer?
Attend a 60-minute information session. Learn more.