CASA volunteers are community members who have a sincere desire to make a difference in the life of a child in foster care by becoming an advocate in court on the child's behalf. They are responsible adults who care deeply about the welfare of children and know that when they take on a case, they have the opportunity to change a child's life.
As an advocate, a CASA volunteer will read Division of Child Protection and Permanency case files and interview all parties associated with the child and the case, such as biological parents, foster parents, school personnel, medical and mental health professionals and relatives. A CASA volunteer visits the child in the foster home every month in order to be familiar with what he or she needs. After gathering information, a CASA volunteer writes a report to be sent to the Family Court Judge who is presiding over the case. CASA volunteers are invited to appear at the actual Court hearing on the case to provide in-person testimony related to the report.
CASA volunteers come from all walks of life and all kinds of educational, ethnic, and social backgrounds. Most work full time but some are students and some are retired. Objectivity and good communication skills are essential since a CASA volunteer must be able to work with a variety of people from child welfare professionals to birth parents. You must be at least 21 years old to volunteer. Completion of 30 hours of training in addition to a formal background check, references, and an interview are required.
The first step in becoming an advocate is attending an information session. Visit www.tinyurl.com/CASAEssex for all upcoming dates and times. Can't make any of these? Email Jess at email@example.com to schedule a phone call.