The W's of CASA
The History of CASA
Volunteering at CASA
Become a CASA!
Volunteer Application
Volunteer Job Description
Volunteer Expectations

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Q: What does a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) do?
A CASA volunteer fulfills many roles, acting as investigator, representative, case monitor, as a mediator and as a broker of information and resources. CASA volunteers provide a number of necessary services that local and state governments would otherwise have to pay for, such as doing research on the child’s situation in alternative care, supervising visits with parents and siblings and working with parents to ensure completion of their court-ordered service plan. CASA Volunteers:
  • Investigate, Monitor, and Recommend
    The CASA volunteer gathers information about a child’s situation while in alternative care, monitors the situation to ensure that the child’s needs and best interests are being met and, ultimately, makes a recommendation to the presiding judge as to what permanent placement would be in the best interest of the child. Volunteers make regular visits to the child in his/her temporary placement; work to secure necessary medical, psychological, educational and other services for the child; and communicate to the courts on behalf of the child.

  • Serve as Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) for the child
    GALs are authorized by Texas law to conduct independent investigations in order to determine the best interests of the child or children. GALs have access to school, medical and other confidential records; can receive all court and legal documents; and can participate in all meetings, staffings and court proceedings related to the case.

  • Provide a consistent presence for the child during an otherwise tumultuous time
    While CPS Caseworkers and others involved in a case can turnover frequently, CASA aims to be a constant presence in the child’s life. CASA Volunteers regularly visit with the child, attend birthday parties and other special events and, above all, advocate on behalf of their best interests. All CASA Volunteers work closely with a staff Casework Supervisor who guides every aspect of casework to ensure that the volunteer is properly supported in their role, and that the child receives the best possible services.

Q: What kinds of people serve as volunteer advocates?
Our volunteers represent nearly every age group, ethnicity, profession, educational background and lifestyle there is. They are teachers, business professionals, healthcare workers, college students, stay at home moms, and retired persons. They are anywhere from 21 to over 70 years of age. Some have a high school education, while others have Ph.D.s and law degrees. In short, there is no typical CASA volunteer. However, the one thing all of our volunteers have in common is a genuine interest in the well being of the children we serve. A good advocate can communicate well verbally and in writing, is persistent and committed, and understands the significance and responsibility associated with their role as a CASA.
Q: Do I have time for this?
A large percentage of our CASA volunteers (52%) work full time and find the CASA experience flexible enough to accommodate their schedules. Our volunteers spend, on average, between 1-2 hours per week during the life of a case. CASA volunteers do go to court several times a year, and occasionally attend meetings that take place during the workday; however, the majority of these meetings are set with plenty of advance notice. Many CASA volunteer duties – such as attending visits with the child, reading reports and records, and sending e-mails or placing calls to others involved in the case – can be done outside of regular work hours and on the volunteer’s own time.
Q: Will I be safe?
The safety of CASA volunteer advocates is one of our top priorities. To this end, each volunteer is assigned a staff Casework Supervisor who will serve as a source of support throughout the life of their case, and through the duration of their time at CASA. We never expect or encourage our volunteer advocates to participate in any activity that causes them to feel unsafe.
Q: Can I handle this emotionally?
CASA volunteers are assigned to a case after the alleged child abuse or neglect has occurred and the child is placed in foster care. The CASA’s focus is on determining the child’s current and future needs. There is no doubt that working a case can be emotionally difficult at times, however, CASA staff Casework Supervisors accompany volunteer advocates to court hearings and other meetings. Staff works with volunteers to provide oversight for case management and to ensure emotional support and guidance throughout the case.
Q: Will I really make a difference?
In a word, YES. CASA volunteers offer children a consistent helping hand to guide them through the foster care system and provide a strong voice to advocate on their behalf. A growing number of studies have found that, as compared to children who do not have a CASA volunteer assigned to their case, children who have a CASA:
  • Receive a greater number of court-ordered services
    (Caliber 2004; Duquette & Ramsey 1986; Condelli 1988; Litzefelner 2000; Poertner & Press 1990; Siegel, et al. 2001);
  • Are more likely to be adopted
    (Abramson 1991; Poertner & Press 1990; Profilet 1999; Siegel et al. 2001);
  • Have a fewer number of placements
    (i.e. home changes) while in foster care (Calkins & Millar 1999; Litzefelner 2000);
  • Are half as likely to re-enter the child welfare system after their case is closed
    (Poertner & Press 1990; Abramson 1991; Powell & Speshock 1996).
By volunteering with CASA, you can be a part of this important work - YOU can truly make a lifelong difference for a child.

120 E. 2nd Avenue | Corsicana, TX 75151 | Phone: 903.872.3772 | Fax: 903.872.3755