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How Can I Become a CASA Volunteer?
Volunteer Role, Standing and Relationship with the Court
Required Skills/Abilities of a CASA Volunteer
What You Will Accomplish
The first step is to call the CASA office for preliminary screening. You will learn more about the CASA Program and whether you meet the basic requirements. Next, you fill out a written application. If your application is accepted, the program does several reference and background checks. In addition you will need to participate in a face-to-face interview with a Program Coordinator. The CASA Program looks for mature adults who can be objective and reliable, and who can relate to people from various lifestyles. CASA volunteers must commit to the program for a full year and must be willing to abide by the program's policies and procedures.
By state statute (29 Del.C Chapter 90A), the CASA volunteer may be appointed to work in conjunction with the attorney appointed to represent the child when the Division of Services for Children, Youth and their Families seeks custody of a child on the basis of dependency, neglect or abuse.
The CASA volunteer fulfills the role of guardian ad litem for the child. The CASA volunteer represents the best interests of the child to the Court. The CASA volunteer ascertains the wishes of the child and make the child's wishes known to the Court through the child's attorney.
- Ability to keep all client and Court information confidential
- Ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing
- Ability to respect and relate to people from various backgrounds (economic, cultural, educational) in a variety of settings
- Ability to transport self to a variety of locations
- Ability to deal with hostility, anger, and other emotional attitudes
- Ability to maintain objectivity
- Ability to gather and accurately record factual information
- A basic understanding of child development
- A basic understanding of family relationships
Volunteers for the CASA program are required to attend initial training. The training is followed by post-training requirements during which specific skills are practiced. Upon completion of initial training and post-training requirements, the CASA is eligible for case assignment.
One in-service business/training meeting is scheduled each month. Attendance at these meetings is expected. CASA's will also receive direct supervision and guidance from the Program Coordinator and 12 hours of continuing education a year is mandatory for active volunteers. Legal advice and representation are available through program attorneys.
Volunteers are required to commit themselves to the program for one year. Volunteers are expected to be available for case assignment and to accept cases upon request of the Program Coordinator unless:
- The CASA is already active with a case
- A serious conflict in values exists between the CASA and an issue relative to the case
- The CASA has informed the Program Coordinator of a preplanned vacation or personal commitment
- The CASA cannot participate due to illness
- The CASA has requested a temporary respite from service
As a child's volunteer advocate, your goal is to represent the best interest for your CASA child. You closely monitor his or her situations, advocate for services, and report to the court recommendations based on factual information obtained.
The tree that grows from the seeds of attention and compassion you plant in your CASA child, produces sturdy branches bearing good, healthy fruit, the effects of which are unimaginably profound and far reaching.