What is a CASA volunteer? A court appointed special advocated is a trained citizen who is appointed by a judge to represent the best interests of a child in court. Children helped by CASA volunteers include those for whom home placement is being determined in juvenile court. the children are victims of abuse and neglect through no fault of their own.
What is the CASA volunteer's role? A CASA volunteer proves the Judge with a carefully researched background of the child to help the court make a sound decision about that child's future. Each home placement case is as unique as the child involved. The CASA volunteer must gain information that may assist the Judge in determining what placement is the child's best interest. The CASA volunteer follows through on the case until it is resolved.
How does a volunteer assess a case? The CASA volunteer talks with the child, parents, family memebers, social workers, school officials, health providers and others who are knowledgable about the child's history. The CASA volunteer also reviews all records pertaining to the child-school, medical and caseworker reports, and other documents.
How does a CASA volunteer differ from a social service caseworker? State governments generally employ social workers. The CASA volunteer does not replace the social worker on a case; he or she is an independent appointee of the court. The CASA volunteer can thoroughly examine a child's case, has knowledge of community resources, and can make a recommendation to the court independent of state agency restrictions.
How does the role of a CASA volunteer differ from an attorney? The CASA volunteer does not provide legal representation. That is the role of the attorney. However, the CASA volunteer does provide crucial background information that assists attorneys in presenting their cases. It is important to remember that CASA volunteers do not represent a child's wishes in court. Rather, they tell the court what the child's wishes are, and then they exercise their own independent judgement to determine whether those wishes are actually in the best interest of the child.
Where can I find CASA in my community? CASA of Houston County, Inc.'s office is located at 206 Carl Vinson Parkway, Warner Robins, GA, in the Houston County Juvenile Justice Complex, in the Public Defenders wind. CASA of Houston County, Inc. attempts to serve the entire Houston County population of children in foster care.
What do I have to do to become a CASA volunteer? All volunteers have to be 21 years of age and over and undergo criminal background checks. A volunteer completes a curriculum of around 30 to 40 hours of training and has the opportunity to observe juvenile court. A volunteer also learns and observes confidentiality issues regarding juveniles in the legal system.