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.
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
What do CASA Volunteers do?
In 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
A prospective CASA volunteer must complete 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
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’m ready to apply!