child with volunteer-girlAt SarpyCASA, our most valuable resource is volunteers. We are in need of more volunteers 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 readthe 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 interest 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 an arm 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 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 (some exceptions allowed for students
  • Make a commitment to serve as a CASA volunteer for at least one year
  • Attend training sessions and review all material provided by the CASA program
  • 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 the program coordinator and submit all documentation.
  • 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.

Is prior experience with the foster care system or legal 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.

How do I get involved?

If you are ready to get involved or have specific questions you would like answered before making the commitment to volunteer, you can contact Candi Marcantel at cmarcantel@sarpy.com or call Candi’s office at 402-593-2224.