FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

q. What is a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer?

Q. HOW MUCH TIME IS NEEDED TO BE A CASA?

Q. Can a Child Advocate really make a difference? 

Q. Who can be an Advocate?

Q. How do I begin?

Q. I’m not sure I can commit to become an advocate right now. Is there   something else I can do to help?

Q. Do I need special training to be an advocate?

Q. WHAT IF I NEED HELP WITH MY CASA CHILD?

Q. When are Training Sessions held?

Q. Is a volunteer assigned to more than one child?

Q. Where do CASA children live?

Q. Where do I take my CASA child when we have a visit together?

Q. I have a history of substance abuse. can i be a casa?

Q. May I be a CASA together with my partner?

Q. How long does it take to be matched with a child and begin visits?

Q. Is a donation to CASA tax-deductible?

Q. I want to donate to CASA – but I want to speak with an agency representative first. Who can I contact?

Q. What is a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer?

A CASA volunteer is a mentor and advocate appointed by the courts to help children who have experienced abuse and neglect. They are a caring adult that provides a consistent relationship, while also building a long-term support network, and guiding the youth through the dependency system. CASAs gather information regarding the youth’s case and well-being, in order to make recommendations that advocate for the youth’s best interest. CASAs help the youth plan for a future that’s brighter than their past.

Q. HOW MUCH TIME IS NEEDED TO BE A CASA?

We ask advocates to spend 10-15 hours per month working on their case. This includes two visits per month with your assigned youth, meetings with other case professionals, submitting case notes and court reports, and court appearances. In addition, we are looking for volunteers who have a healthy and consistent work/life balance, a strong support system, emotional stability, and the ability to commit for two years.

Q. Can a Child Advocate really make a difference? 

The introduction of just one caring adult in the life of an abused child can change the course of that child’s life forever. Experiencing abuse, neglect and other forms of trauma can impact physical and mental health, academic achievement, and more. The support of a CASA/GAL volunteer can help children build resilience to counter those impacts. Studies have demonstrated that children with a CASA are more likely to find a safe, permanent home; more likely to succeed in school; and are half as likely to re-enter foster care.

Q. Who can be an Advocate?

We are looking for safe and trusted adults who are inclusive, open-minded, with strong communication skills, and are willing to advocate on a child’s behalf. Advocates must be 21 years old, have at least 2 years of driving history, complete a comprehensive background check, and a minimum commitment of two years.

Q. How do I begin?

Your first step to becoming a CASA is to attend an Information Session. This is your chance to learn more about the program, understand the training and screening requirements, and ask questions. Click here to register for an Information Session.

Q. I’m not sure I can commit to become an advocate right now. Is there something else I can do to help?

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.

Q. Do I need special training to be an advocate?

Yes you do. CASA will provide you with the 34 hours of training mandated by National CASA and the California Rule of Court. We will cover topics like mandated reporting, overview of the dependency system, how to advocate for youth in foster care, and other skills necessary to help you in your role. Additionally, once you become an advocate you are required to complete 12 hours of continued education annually.

Q. What if I need help with my CASA child?

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.

Q. When are Training Sessions held?

CASA Training is 34 hours and is offered six times per year (January, March, May, July, September, and November). Training classes are typically a combination of weeknight and Saturday morning sessions held online via Zoom. Any classes missed can be made up during the next Training Session.

Q. Is a volunteer assigned to more than one child?

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.

Q. Where do CASA children live?

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.

Q. Where do I take my CASA child when we have a visit together?

There is a $25 limit for outings with your youth so we encourage only free or cheap activities. A typical visit may include a trip to the park, the beach, or community activities. In addition, our agency sponsors events throughout the year for CASAs and their assigned child. Due to confidentiality, you cannot take the child to your home or introduce them to your friends, family, or colleagues. 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.

Q. I have a history of substance abuse. can i be a casa?

You must have at least 5 years of sobriety in order to be eligible to apply for the CASA volunteer role. If you have had a DUI within the last 5 years, you are not eligible to apply. If you had 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 Volunteer Recruitment Manager.

Q. May I be a CASA together with my partner?

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.

Q. How long does it take to be matched with a child and begin visits?

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.

Q. Is a donation to CASA tax-deductible?

Yes, we are 501(c)3. Any donation made to our agency is tax deductible.

Q. I want to donate to CASA – but I want to speak with an agency representative first. Who can I contact?

Please contact our Development Department by emailing development@casaoc.org.

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