At Sarpy CASA, we value our volunteers above all other resources. More volunteers are needed for the program in order to achieve our mission of providing a CASA volunteer to every abused and neglected child under the jurisdiction of Sarpy County’s Juvenile Court. Please read the following information and carefully consider whether or not becoming a CASA volunteer would be the right fit for you.
What is a CASA volunteer?
A CASA volunteer is a screened, trained, unpaid volunteer appointed by a judge to advocate for one child or family of children. The CASA volunteer investigates the child’s situation, facilitates communication between individuals involved in the child’s case, makes recommendations to the judge regarding the best interests of the child, and monitors the child’s health and well-being until the child finds a safe and permanent home. Essentially, the CASA serves as a support for the juvenile court by acting as a researcher, monitor, and child advocate.
Often the CASA remains the only consistent individual in a child’s life as the child is moved from placement to placement. The CASA has the opportunity to get to know the child very well and serve as a constant, supportive presence for the child during a very difficult time in the child’s life.
What requirements must I meet in order to become a CASA volunteer?
- Be at least 21 years of age
- Make a commitment to serve as a CASA volunteer for at least one year
- Complete 30 hours of advocacy training
- Maintain strict confidentiality both in accordance with Nebraska state statutes governing CASA volunteers and in compliance with a sworn oath made by the CASA before a Sarpy County Juvenile Court judge
- Maintain objectivity and professionalism when dealing with children, parents, and all other parties involved in the case
- Possess effective written and verbal communication skills
What are the responsibilities of a CASA volunteer?
- Visit the child at the child’s placement, whether that be an institution, group home, or foster care placement
- Review appropriate records and reports regarding the child’s case
- Interview the child, parents, foster parents, and any other concerned parties or relatives
- Confer with important individuals in the child’s life, including counselors, teachers, social workers, the child’s Guardian Ad Litem, etc.
- Maintain records of all findings, document all contacts, and keep findings and records confidential
- Submit thorough, written reports to the court and all parties prior to court hearings
- Appear in court as needed to testify on findings or recommendations
- Monitor court orders to ensure that placement is appropriate and services are being furnished to the child in a timely manner
- Maintain contact with your assigned volunteer supervisor
- Remain involved in the case until the court’s jurisdiction is terminated
How often will I see my CASA child?
CASA volunteers are required to see their CASA child at least once a month but a CASA is allowed to see their child as much as they want. The average CASA volunteer spends approximately 5-8 hours a month on their case.
Is prior experience with foster care or the legal system necessary for CASA volunteers?
Not at all. All volunteers must undergo 30 hours of training with a CASA supervisor. This training will provide volunteers with relevant information about the foster care system, juvenile court, child development, cultural issues, mental health issues the child or child’s family may face, and guidelines for fulfilling the CASA role.