Qualities of an Advocate
- Able to make a minimum of a year commitment to the program and child(ren)
- Understand and follow the CASA confidentiality policy
- Respect and relate to people from various backgrounds in a variety of settings
- Communicate effectively both orally and in writing
- Gather and accurately record factual information
- Meet report deadlines and requirements
- Be objective, open-minded and flexible
- Act with confidence and courage in advocating for your CASA child(ren)
- Accept supervision and seek feedback from CASA case supervisors
- Maintain professional relationships with all community service providers
- Provide one's own transportation
- Pass a volunteer screening consisting of a national criminal record check, DMV record check, Child Index Registry check and three (3) letters of recommendation.
- Maintain consistent weekly contact with CASA child (ren)
- Maintain consistent monthly (or more often as necessary) contact with CASA case supervisor
- Submit volunteer time card monthly to CASA case supervisor
- Keep appropriate case notes
- Complete case reports in a timely manner
- Complete 12 hours of continuing education yearly
The CASA Volunteer does not engage in the following activities:
- Taking a child to the home of the advocate
- Giving legal advice or therapeutic counseling
- Making placement arrangements
- Giving large amounts of money or expensive gifts to the child or the family
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the Volunteer Coordinator.
If you are unable to become an advocate, but would still like to help support CASA through volunteer work, there are several other options. Some activities require more time and commitment than others. There are also different screening requirements based on access to confidential information and independent activity of the volunteer. We also have one-time events and short-term projects that you may wish to help with. For more information regarding any of these volunteer roles please contact our volunteer coordinator.
CASA Board: CASA has an active volunteer board of community members and several committees which focus on particular areas of oversight.
Fundraising Team: Fundraising activities include our annual For our Children campaign, E-scrip registration, iGive.com, Tennis Tournament, Golf Tournament and others.
Office Volunteer: We can always use assistance in the office for basic activities such as filing, shredding, preparing mailings, library organization, etc.
Special Projects: During the year CASA often has special events such as our volunteer picnic, fundraisers and commemorations of child-related holidays.
Other: If you have a special skill or resource that you would like to share with CASA, talk to us about how we can best utilize it. We welcome your support.
» Current CASA Events
All CASA of Del Norte volunteers, staff, and board members are required to complete an appropriate application, complete an appropriate interview(s), submit Department of Motor Vehicles current print-out; submit proof of insurance; submit Live Scan Fingerprints (FBI, Department of Justice, Child Index Registry and State of California); complete and pass appropriate training; be sworn in as an Advocate.
All these steps are required, none may be omitted, other than the training and swearing in ceremony for those who are Friends of CASA Volunteers. However, all the steps above must be completed by Advocates.
How you can make a difference.
Over the past twenty five years, tens of thousands of CASA/GAL volunteers have served hundreds of thousands of abused and neglected children. Judge David Soukup’s initial notion that volunteers are in the best position to most effectively and efficiently provide the advocacy so critical for our children in need has come to fruition.
The volunteer nature of our work is the very foundation on which the CASA program is built and is certainly one of the greatest strengths of our national network.
Volunteers are in fact the heart of what we do for children.
In 1990 with the inclusion of the CASA Program in the Victims of Child Abuse Act, Congress affirmed the use of volunteers in our otherwise closed juvenile court systems and made provisions for the growth of our volunteer movement nationwide.
Why volunteers? By the very nature of their “volunteerism” they empower themselves through their commitment of time and energy. Volunteers generally work on only one or two cases at a time and their focus gives them the ability to see and do more on behalf of the child. They stay with the case from beginning to end and serve the program an average of 30 months.
Volunteers are also independent of bureaucratic constraints that often keep those employed by our local institutions playing by rules that are outdated or often make less than common sense. Certainly CASA/GAL volunteers do not work in a vacuum. It takes the strong support and guidance of local program staff to facilitate their work. Careful screening, training, supervision, and retention are essential to assure high quality volunteer advocacy. Although paid staff play an integral role in the coordination and management of the program, the traditional role of staff does not include routinely working cases. One primary reason is cost-effectiveness. It is certainly more cost-effective to have one staff person coordinating 30 volunteers serving 75 children as opposed to one staff person carrying 25 cases with 60 children Still, cost-effectiveness is only a small component of our commitment to the use of volunteers.
Volunteers bring a much needed outside perspective to our court and child welfare systems. Their lack of past experience in the system not only brings a fresh perspective to what we do, it opens our doors to the community and helps raise public awareness of the plight of our community’s abused and neglected children.
To a child, having a volunteer working for them can make all the difference. Hundreds of children across the country have been moved when understanding the notion, “you don’t get paid to do this?” It shows to them the level of concern and commitment being made by the volunteer. No, it’s not part of their “job.” Volunteers are ordinary citizens, doing extraordinary work for children, and along the way bringing such passion, dedication, and effort to their work.
In 1988, CSR, Inc., under contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, published the results of a study entitled, National Evaluation of Guardians ad Litem in Child Abuse or Neglect Judicial Proceedings. After analyzing five types of GAL models the study found that:
“CASA volunteers are excellent investigators and mediators, remain involved in the case and fight for what they think is right for the child.” The study concluded, “We give the CASA models our highest recommendation.”
In our over twenty-five year history, well-trained and supervised CASA/GAL volunteers have repeatedly demonstrated their competence in providing high quality advocacy for children. Volunteers are the very foundation on which our movement is built and remain the most effective and efficient mechanism to serve the greatest number of abused and children well.