Volunteer to become a CASA in Jackson County!
What is a CASA?
CASA's volunteer their time to change children's lives. They are everyday citizens that judges appoint to advocate for the safety and well-being of children who are victims of parental abuse and neglect. They stand up for these children to help change their lives.
CASA volunteers listen first. Then they act. Volunteers get to know the child and talk with everyone in that child's life—parents and relatives, foster parents, teachers, medical professionals, attorneys, social workers and others. They use the information they gather to inform judges and others of what the child needs and what will be the best permanent home for them.
What does it take to be a CASA volunteer?
Being a CASA volunteer does not require any special education or background. You must pass a background check, participate in a 40-hour pre-service training course and agree to stay with a case until it is closed (two years on average). Becoming a CASA volunteer is an investment of time, energy and heart. But as many volunteers have said of the children they worked with: "It wasn't about what I gave them, it was what they showed me."
All volunteers must complete a 40-hour pre-service training. The time commitment to a case varies depending upon the stage of the case. Volunteers sometimes say that there is a greater amount of work in the beginning of the case, when they are conducting their initial research. On average, you can expect to spend approximately 10 hours a month on a case. You are asked to dedicate yourself to a case until it is closed. The average case lasts about two years.
Do I need to have any special skills or meet any requirements?
No special background or education is required to become a CASA volunteer. We encourage people from all cultures and professions, and of all ethnic and educational backgrounds. Once accepted into the program, you will receive all necessary training in courtroom procedures, social services, the juvenile justice system and the special needs of abused and neglected children.
- Be 21 years old
- Be willing to complete necessary background checks, provide references and participate in an interview
- Complete a minimum of 40 hours of pre-service training
- Be available for court appearances, with advance notice
- Be willing to commit to the CASA program until your first case is closed
Exactly what does a CASA volunteer do?
CASA volunteers are appointed by judges to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in court and other settings. The primary responsibilities of a CASA volunteer are to:
- GATHER INFORMATION: Review documents and records, interview the children,family members and professionals in their lives.
- DOCUMENT FINDINGS: Provide written reports at court hearings.
- APPEAR IN COURT: Advocate for the child's best interests and provide testimony when necessary.
- EXPLAIN WHAT IS GOING ON: Help the child understand the court proceedings.
- BE THE GLUE: Seek cooperative solutions among individuals and organizations involved in the children's lives. As one volunteer said: "Be the glue that connects the pieces in a complicated child welfare system. "
- RECOMMEND SERVICES: Ensure that the children and their family are receiving appropriate services and advocate for those that are not immediately available. Bring concerns about the child's health, education, mental health, etc. to the appropriate professionals.
- MONITOR CASE PLANS AND COURT ORDERS: Check to see that plans are being followed and mandated review hearings are being held.
- KEEP THE COURT INFORMED: Update the court on developments with agencies and family members. Ensure that appropriate motions are filed on behalf of the child so the court knows about any changes in the child's situation.
What sort of support will I receive?
You will be supported every step of the way by the staff of the local CASA of Jackson County office. You will have opportunities for continuing education and have access to online resources provided by National CASA, including a resource library. There are also national conventions you may attend. Help is just a phone call, email or visit away.
Are you ready to stand up for a child who needs you? Contact us!
Call, email or visit the CASA of Jackson County office for more information. Click here to visit our contact page. You can make a difference in the lives and future of children in Southern Oregon.
Not ready to be a CASA yet? Check out these other volunteer opportunities!
Children also benefit from the invaluable contributions of non-advocate volunteers. There are a number of ways you can contribute your time and talents to CASA of Jackson County including, but not limited to those listed below.
SOME OTHER WAYS YOU CAN VOLUNTEER:
- Work at one of our fundraising events or volunteer to be a sponsor.
- Invite CASA staff to present a program to your community or civic group, recruiting volunteers, requesting a donation, etc.
- Get CASA information out in your workplace via e-newsletter, posters, brochures in pay envelopes, etc.
- Organizing or sponsoring a fundraiser with your business associates, friends or family.
- Contacting businesses for in-kind donations of food, prizes in connection with a special event or for volunteer recognition.
- Making your home, workplace or other facility available to the CASA program for training, volunteer recognition, special events, etc.
- Serving on governing boards, advisory councils or event planning committees.
- We are open to other ideas you may have - be creative!
Your passion for volunteering and ideas are welcome at CASA of Jackson County. Contact us to discuss the possibilities.