become a Court Appointed Special Advocate
The CASA Program is a national program serving abused and neglected children in the court system, administered for our county through YWCA Clark County.
When you become a CASA volunteer, you are asked to make a minimum one-year commitment to the program. Volunteers dedicate approximately three to eight hours per month to advocate for abused or neglected children. You are provided 30+ hours of training. You become the voice for the child in the court system and the community.
As a CASA, you investigate the child’s situation, report to the court, monitor case progress, encourage positive communications, and advocate for the best interests of the child. You’ll hear from mental health and medical professionals about the issues of neglect and abuse. You’ll learn how to interview the child, family, and professionals to make certain all the facts are uncovered. You’ll learn about courtroom procedures—what the judge expects from you, what to expect if you are asked to testify, and how to write court reports.
As long as the child is a ward of the court, you’ll be asked to monitor the entire process so that the child’s best interests are served, and to act as an independent voice to tell the court what you think should be done to improve the situation. Once that case is over, your involvement in that child’s life will also end. Being a CASA volunteer can be challenging; sometimes it will make you angry or sad or frustrated at what you see. But when you can help just one child who has been assaulted or neglected, and when you make the difference in only one confused child’s life, then you will know for certain that it is all worth it—for the child, and for you.
The CASA volunteer functions in many roles, including:
Conducts an independent investigation on behalf of the child you represent. This investigation can include interviews with medical professionals, mental health staff, sources in the neighborhood, the child’s family, school officials, law enforcement personnel, and the child.
Assures that court-ordered services are provided to the child and family, and monitors case progress.
Advocates for the child during the difficult judicial process. Children are often unable to articulate their hurts, fears, and needs. They may not know that their own options or that their own interests may prevail over the adults who have abused or neglected them. The CASA is the spokesperson who assures that the child’s wishes are heard and that the best interest of the child is presented to the court and agencies dealing with the child.
Presents information to the court in written form and oral testimony at each hearing (approximately every six months) in the proceedings to assist the court in determining what is in the child’s best interest.
Staff are available to assist the CASA volunteer with these tasks.
To learn more about volunteer opportunities with CASA, contact Stephanie Barr, Director of Volunteer Development at 360 906 9112 or email hidden; visit site for full address.