Foster Child Needing Sarpy CASA

Volunteer as a Voice for Children

Our Sarpy County CASA volunteers are the most important resources we have in advocating for children in the juvenile justice system.

We believe every abused and neglected child under the jurisdiction of Sarpy County’s Juvenile Court deserves a CASA worker to advocate for them.  For that to be possible, we need more CASAs! Please consider volunteering as a Sarpy CASA.

What does a CASA volunteer do?

A CASA is a screened, trained, unpaid volunteer appointed by a judge to advocate for a child or family of children. The CASA investigates the 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 gets to know the child very well and serves as a constant, supportive presence during a very difficult time in the child’s life.

Male CASA volunteer with Boy

What are the requirements to be a CASA volunteer?

  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Be committed to serve as a CASA for at least one year
  • Complete 30 hours of advocacy training
  • Maintain strict confidentiality both in accordance with Nebraska state statutes governing CASAs 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
  • Complete a thorough background review including the federal criminal check, the sex offender registry, and the Nebraska criminal/abuse and neglect registry

What are the responsibilities of a CASA?

  • 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 information 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 provided 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?

When you volunteer as a Sarpy CASA, you are required to see their CASA child at least once a month but you are allowed to see their child as much as you want. The average CASA spends approximately 5-8 hours a month on their case.

Is prior experience with foster care or the legal system necessary for CASAs?

No. Sarpy CASA volunteers must undergo 30 hours of training with a CASA supervisor. This provides volunteers with 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.

Female CASA volunteer with female teen

“My siblings and I lived in limbo for five long years. After at least two reunification plans failed, my mother’s rights were severed and my aunt and uncle adopted us. We lived in a constant state of fear. The only person we could turn to for answers was our CASA. She comforted us and guided us through the process. She was a constant in our lives and our voice in the courtroom.”