“A blessing”, “fulfilling”, “rewarding” and “worthwhile”… That’s how people have described the experience of being a CASA Volunteer. If you have been searching for an opportunity to give back, you can make the difference in a child’s life as a CASA Volunteer.
Children who are placed into foster care need someone who can care about them, ensure they are placed in a safe foster home, and that their voice is heard by the judge. This is the purpose of a CASA Volunteer, who many times is the only dependable adult in the child’s life. In Rapides Parish last year, there were more than 500 children served in foster care. State-wide, more than 7,500 children were served in foster care in the year 2013. These children need volunteers like you to help them through this confusing and scary time of transition in their life.
What exactly is a Court Appointed Special Advocate Volunteer? CASA Volunteers are appointed by judges to advocate for the best interest of an assigned foster child. The judge determines what’s best for the child, based on the volunteer’s recommendations for the child’s best interest. This is an opportunity for the volunteer to shadow children in the foster care system, to ensure the child is in a safe environment, advocate for their desired placement and receive any services needed. Volunteers visit the assigned foster child once a month and write a one page report once a month. Usually, each case lasts for about a year, and there may be a court review twice.
Not familiar with the foster care system or judicial process? No problem! Our CASA Volunteers receive excellent training that educates and helps prepare them to navigate through the foster care system. Every volunteer has a coordinator dedicated to help each volunteer manage a case. They are supported every step of the way and have opportunities for continuing education, access to online resources provided by National CASA, including a resource library, national Facebook community and national conference.
So you’re worried about the time commitment involved with being a CASA Volunteer? On average, you can expect to spend approximately 8 to 10 hours a month on a case. A typical case usually lasts for twelve months. Volunteers will be asked to attend any court hearings, if possible (on average two), visit the foster child once a month, and submit a monthly report. All volunteers must complete a 30-hour pre-service training. Our volunteers range from ages 25 to 75, and vary from those working full-time with families to those who are retired. Volunteers say the time commitment is small and doable, as long as you have the heart and desire to be a volunteer.
Would you like to make a difference in the life of a child as a CASA Volunteer? Please consider joining us for our upcoming training July 21st through 25th. To apply for this class, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or (318) 445-5678 ext. 3012.