The introduction of just one caring adult in the life of an abused child can change the course of that child’s life forever. With volunteer advocates, children who have known only hurt, rejection and disappointment from adults learn to trust, hope, and love. A court appointed volunteer advocate makes a profound and positive difference for abused children. Studies have demonstrated that children with a CASA experience fewer placement changes, are more likely to be adopted and are less likely to reenter the child welfare system than children without a CASA.
No special skills are required–only the desire and commitment to make a difference. Advocates must be 21 years old, complete a comprehensive background check and are asked for a minimum commitment of two years in order to ensure stability and consistency for the children we serve.
An advocate generally sees a child on a regular basis, spending between 10 and 15 hours each month on volunteer responsibilities. Approximately twice a year, volunteers submit reports to the court and attend a court hearing regarding the child.
Your first step to becoming a CASA is to attend an Information Session. This is your chance to learn more about the program, hear veteran advocates speak about their experiences and have all your questions answered.
CASA has a variety of volunteer opportunities that would allow you to support our mission to serve abused children. You might consider assisting with activities for our children and advocates, or getting involved in fundraising projects. Go to our CASA Ambassador section or Make a Donation webpage to learn about other opportunities to participate in CASA’s important work.
Yes, but CASA will provide all the training you need. The content of CASA’s 30 hours of training is mandated by the National CASA organization and the State of California Judicial Council. You will learn about the child welfare system, how to work with children involved in the system, and other skills necessary to help your assigned child. Volunteers can choose from a range of options to satisfy the 12 hours of additional training that are required of advocates annually.
Each volunteer is continuously supported by and in contact with a professional and experienced Case Supervisor. Support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
CASAs have the flexibility to work with a child’s caregiver to set visits that fit their schedule. Many CASAs are full-time professionals, and most visits with a child occur in the evening or on weekends. CASAs are expected to meet with their assigned child, at minimum, twice per month for two hours, with a two year commitment.
CASA training and ongoing supervision and support will equip you to be effective in your role. The important qualities are the desire and commitment to advocate for a child.
CASA Training is 30 hours and is offered bimonthly. Training classes are typically offered as a combination of weeknight evenings and Saturday full day sessions. Training is held at the CASA office at 1505 E. 17th Street in Santa Ana, CA. You must attend an Information Session to be eligible to join a Training Session.
Any missed classes can be completed during the next offered Training Session.
Most volunteers are assigned to one child. Occasionally a volunteer is assigned to a pair of siblings if it is in the children’s best interests. Rarely, a volunteer with more time may take on more than one concurrent case.
CASA children may be placed in a short-term residential treatment center (group home), a foster home, or with a family member. The majority of the children we serve live in central and northern Orange County, though children may be placed throughout the county and in neighboring counties.
We encourage only free or cheap activities. A typical visit may include a trip to the park, the beach, or a free or low-cost exhibit in our community. In addition, our agency sponsors events throughout the year for CASAs and their assigned child. You cannot take the child to your home, your relative’s home, or your friend’s home. CASA advocates have a one-on-one relationship with the child they are matched with and outings should only be between the two of you.
At least 5 years must lapse after being charged with a DUI before you can be sworn-in as a CASA. You will be asked about the DUI during your interview following Training. If you have any questions regarding something that may show up in your background check and how it may impact your ability to become a CASA volunteer, please contact the Director of Community Relations.
No. Due to the high number of children on our wait list and our strong belief that a one-on-one connection is in the best interest of the child, we do not allow two-on-one matching.
On average, it takes approximately two months from the start of training until you are officially matched with your child. This is dependent upon your full completion of all training classes, and application and screening requirements.
Yes, we are 501(c)3. Any donation made to our agency is tax deductible.
No. The CASA role is a dual role: both a mentor and an advocate. As a mentor, the CASA volunteer develops a relationship with the youth through consistent outings. As an advocate, the CASA volunteer gathers information about the youth's case progress and well being, writes court reports and makes recommendations to further the youth's best interests, and serves as the voice of the youth at court hearings and case meetings.