People become CASA volunteers for all sorts of reasons but one thing is common—a strong desire to make a difference in their community by advocating for the best interest of abused and neglected children.
How much time do CASA volunteers commit?
The vast majority of cases last one to two years, and the amount of time spent on a case per month typically ranges between 10-12 hours. Usually, a bit more time is spent at the beginning of a case becoming familiar with the circumstances of the case and having face-to-face conversations with children, parents, family members and service providers. CASA volunteers are required to have at least one face-to-face interaction with the child every 30 days. Volunteers must make case time a priority in order to provide quality advocacy.
What are the qualifications to become a CASA volunteer?
In order to become a CASA volunteer and work directly with children you must:
Be at least 21 years of age
Have a minimum of a high school diploma or GED equivalent
What's the process for becoming a volunteer?
CASA Volunteer Applicants MUST:
Complete a CASA Volunteer Application
Successfully pass all required background checks
Provide personal and professional references
Provide accurate educational and work history/experience information
Successfully complete an in-depth interview with CASA Staff
Complete 30 hours of pre-service training
Complete pre-service courtroom observation time
CASA volunteers undergo a thorough training and development program that consists of at least 30 hours of pre-service training, four hours of court observation followed by a minimum of 12 hours of continuing education yearly. Volunteers learn about courtroom procedure from the principals in the system – judges, lawyers, social workers, court personnel, and others. CASA volunteers also learn effective advocacy techniques for children, and are educated about specific topics ranging from child sexual abuse and trauma to discussions about early childhood development and adolescent behavior.
After completion of the initial training, volunteers are sworn in as Officers of the Court. This gives them the legal authority to conduct research on the child's situation and submit reports to the court.
The best way to understand why people become CASA volunteers is to hear directly from them.
How are CASA volunteers assigned to cases in Washington County?
After consulting with the CASA of Washington County Indiana Executive Director, the Honorable Judge Larry Medlock assigns a CASA volunteer to all Child In Need of Services (CHINS) cases in Washington County Indiana. Several factors are considered in making this decision. A case will not be assigned to a CASA volunteer without agreement from the volunteer.
How many children are assigned per CASA volunteer?
At this point, all Washington County children involved in CHINS cases have a CASA volunteer assigned to their case and advocating for them. Most CASA volunteers are assigned only one CHINS case at a time. Within those cases, there may be more than one sibling child. Experience has taught us that having one CASA volunteer for all children in one case has significant advantages over having multiple volunteers assigned to the same case. However, each case is different and these general policies are not written in stone. Working for the best interest of the children we service is the paramount consideration in all cases.
Without government funding, CASA of Washington County Indiana would not be able to function effectively in its mission of advocating for the best interests of abused and neglected children.
Fortunately, here in Washington County Indiana, we have strong support for CASA from our elected officials but this support cannot be taken for granted. As the number of cases involving abused and neglected children increase every year the resources necessary to meet the challenge also must increase.
By letting our elected officials know that you support the work CASA does in Washington County you send a strong message that can influence those officials to continue supporting CASA.
Washington County Commissioners
Part of the funding for CASA of Washington County Indiana comes from national, state and local governments. However, that funding only covers a portion of the operating budget necessary for us to effectively advocate for abused and neglected children in Washington County. We also seek out additional funding by applying for grants targeted at helping children who are victims of crime. However, the remainder of our operating budget is funded by personal and business donations.
As a registered 501(c)3 organization, all donations to CASA of Washington County Indiana are tax-exempt to the fullest extent of the law. Furthermore, every dollar donated stays in Washington County.
Office supplies and equipment
Pro bono professional services
Provide space for fundraising events or CASA volunteer training sessions