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What is a CASA Volunteer?

A Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer is a trained community member appointed by a judge to represent the best interests of abused and neglected children during a dependency case.

Why is a CASA Volunteer needed?

There are over 3100 abused and/or neglected children in Pima County. The ongoing involvement of a CASA, acting as the “eyes and ears of a judge,” greatly assists in determining whether a child can be safely returned home or placed in a foster or adoptive home.

Why have a CASA Volunteer?

  • The child’s best interests are represented
  • Vital and timely services are provided to the child
  • The child has a consistent, caring person throughout the process
  • Cases having a CASA come to closure or permanency more quickly
  • CASA’s help ensure the children do not “fall through the cracks” of the system

What does a CASA Volunteer do?

  • Monitors the child’s health, psychological and social needs
  • Ensures educational needs are being met
  • Interviews individuals pertinent to the child’s case
  • Submits ongoing reports to the Juvenile Court Judge

What is the CASA Volunteer’s role?

CASA volunteers act as the “eyes and ears” of the judge. They provide the Court and interested parties with a report after carefully researching all aspects of the case and interviewing all involved parties to assist the Court in making the most sound and informed decisions possible. Among other things, CASA volunteers determine if it is in a child’s best interest to return to his or her parents or guardians, be placed in foster care, be placed with other relatives, or be freed for permanent adoption.

What are the requirements for becoming a CASA Volunteer?

Prospective volunteers must be at least 21 years of age, undergo DPS and FBI background checks and complete a polygraph. Candidates complete a volunteer application, participate in an interview, and complete 30 hours of training. Volunteers should have effective oral and written communication skills.

How does a CASA Volunteer investigate a case?

To prepare a recommendation, the CASA volunteer talks with the child, parents, family members, social workers, school officials, health providers and others who are knowledgeable about the child’s history. The CASA volunteer also reviews all records pertaining to the child’s school, medical and caseworker report along with other service provider documents to ensure that the child and family are receiving appropriate services.

How does the role of a CASA Volunteer differ from an attorney?

Attorneys are charged with representing their client’s legal interests and following the wishes of their client. A CASA is appointed and is responsible for making recommendations about what things would be best for the child. The CASA volunteer does not file legal paperwork with the court. However, the CASA volunteer does write court reports that provide crucial background information to assist the court in decision making.

Is there a “typical” CASA Volunteer?

CASA volunteers come from all walks of life, with a variety of educational and ethnic backgrounds. There are more than 58,000 CASA volunteers nationally and more than 250 in Pima County. Aside from their CASA volunteer responsibility, many are employed full-time. Since all required training is provided, there are no specific educational or professional requirements; the “typical” volunteer simply has a desire to make a significant, positive difference in the life of an abused or neglected child.

How many cases on average does a CASA Volunteer carry at a time?

Typically CASAs carry one case at a time, allowing them to focus on the particular needs of one child or sibling group. Experienced CASAs who choose to do so may accept more than one case.

How does a CASA Volunteer make a difference?

According to the National CASA Association, abused and neglected children are more likely to face homelessness, unemployment, and prison as adults. However, children with CASA volunteers are more likely to receive therapy, health care and education. Judges have observed that CASA children have better chances of finding permanent homes than non-CASA children.

How much time does it require?

The scheduling of most volunteer activities is flexible. While each case is different, a CASA volunteer usually spends 15-20 hours each month doing research and spending time with the children on their case.

If I can’t currently commit to becoming an advocate, how else may I help?

Your talents are welcome in any number of ways! There are plenty of volunteer opportunities through the CASA Support Council for Pima County, ranging from working on special events to general office help. For more information on CSCPC volunteer opportunities, please call 575-5130 or email them at [email protected]

How is the CASA Program funded?

Pima County CASA is funded through unclaimed lottery winnings.

Volunteer

The CSCPC invites community members to become involved in our efforts to support the CASA program in Pima County. Ways in which one might volunteer include the following:

  1. Become a CASA volunteer;
  2. If your interests or expertise lie in any of the following areas, the Council welcomes your participation on their board or committees: fundraising, public speaking, grant writing, publicity/marketing, education, financial management, computers, community partnerships, and administrative/secretarial…or simply willing hands and heart!

How do I get more information about becoming a CASA Volunteer?

Contact Us:
Call the Pima County CASA Program office at (520) 724-2060

By Mail:
Pima County CASA Program
2225 E. Ajo Way
Tucson, AZ 85713