CASA Volunteer Role

The CASA volunteer’s job is to ensure that the child is protected, to ensure that a stable home is provided, to ensure that a thorough family assessment is made, and to help the child find a safe and permanent home. It is not the CASA volunteer’s job to make decisions about the child’s future.  Rather, the CASA volunteer makes recommendations to the court to help the court to make the best possible decision. In addition, the CASA volunteer is not a “big brother” or “big sister.” While friendships definitely between the CASA and the child, the primary purpose of the CASA volunteer is to make objective recommendations and advocate for the child’s best interests.

Research is an important part of the CASA volunteer’s activities. CASA volunteers conduct interviews and observe the children and significant people in their lives. They  review a variety of reports, including social service, medical, school, psychological and criminal records. They attend meetings with the other professionals involved with the children and their families. They outline options and make written and oral recommendations  in court regarding the short and long term best interests of the children. They advocate for needed services. They monitor court ordered plans to ensure the children’s best interests are being met.

After completing a training process, CASA volunteers are equipped to ensure that the child to whom they’ve been assigned does not get lost in the overburdened  legal and social service system or languish in inappropriate group or foster homes. Volunteers stay with each child until his or her case is closed and the child is returned home or placed in a new safe and permanent home. For many abused children, their CASA volunteer will be the one constant adult presence in their lives

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What do CASA Volunteers do?

Chart showing relationship of volunteers to CASAIn Minnesota, the guardian ad litem is a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer. The appointment of a guardian ad litem is mandated by federal and state law where there are allegations of abuse and/or neglect of a child.

A guardian ad litem is NOT a legal guardian (custodian, or acts as parent), but a legal party to the case and independent advocate for the best interests of the child during their involvement in the child protection system. The goal is to ensure that child’s well-being, which includes a safe and permanent home.

The statutory role of a guardian ad litem includes:

  • Conduct an Independent Investigation
  • Advocate for the child’s best interests
  • Maintain Confidentiality
  • Monitor the Best Interests throughout the proceeding
  • Present written reports that include conclusions and recommendations and the facts upon which they are based

All guardians attend a mandatory 40 hours training which provides them with the tools necessary to advocate for children in the child protection system.

Become a CASA volunteer

Minnesota has currently paused recruitment of new volunteers to be Guardians ad Litem. However, CASA MN remains committed to supporting our current volunteers and being ready to train new volunteer applicants to serve children once the state has resumed the volunteer program. At that time, a prospective CASA volunteer must compete the following:

A Written Application

a screening process, including: interview, written references, criminal background check, fingerprinting

40 hours of pre-service training and 12 hours of continuing education annually

18-month commitment

CASA volunteers also receive ongoing support and supervision from local program staff; the staff are there to answer questions, consult on challenging situations, provide additional education and resources as needed, and encourage our treasured volunteers.

I am interested in being a volunteer

CASA Minnesota
PO BOX 454
Minneapolis, MN 55343

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Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Minnesota is a member of the National Court Appointed Special Advocates Association (National CASA). A grant from National CASA supports this website and our efforts to encourage communication, development, and effective advocacy for CASA volunteers and Guardians ad Litem statewide.

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