Volunteer to be a Court Appointed Special Advocate
CASA Volunteers: Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things.
CASA volunteers are ordinary people who are caring, honest and committed to doing what is best for a child. No special experience or knowledge is required. As a CASA volunteer, you will be able to work with confidence. All our volunteers are trained to understand courtroom procedure, social services, the juvenile justice system and the special needs of children who have been abused and neglected. We welcome volunteers from all cultures, professions, ethnic and educational backgrounds. We have a particular need for bilingual volunteers, men and people of color.
Definition of a CASA Volunteer
According to KRS 620.500 “CASA volunteer means a person who completes training through and is supervised by a CASA program and appointed by a judge to represent the best interests of dependent, abused, and neglected children in court.”
Qualifications of a CASA Volunteer
A CASA volunteer must be at least 21 years of age, of good moral character, and successfully complete screening in order to be accepted into training. Training is approximately 30 hours in length and 4 hours of court observation. Ongoing training is offered to volunteers through in-service training annually. In addition to training, each CASA volunteer and staff member takes an oath of confidentiality.
Duties of a CASA volunteer
According to KRS 620.525, the duties of a CASA volunteer are to:
Attend all court hearings except that the CASA volunteer may be excused by the court or the program director if emergency circumstances arise;
Submit a written report and recommendation to the judge for consideration in determining the best interest of the child at all hearings, and at least one (1) report every six (6) months for as long as the case is assigned to a CASA volunteer;
Monitor the case by visiting the child as at least monthly to observe whether the child’s essential needs are being met, and whether court orders are actually being carried out;
Participate in any treatment planning conferences and reviews involving the child to assess whether reasonable efforts are being made to provide services to the child and family and determine the appropriateness and progress of the child’s permanent plan;
Advocate a prompt, thorough review of the case if the child’s circumstances warrant the attention of the court;
Interview parties involved in the case, including interviewing and observing the child;
Maintain complete written records about the case;
Report any incidents of child or adult abuse or neglect to the appropriate authorities and to the program director;
Remain actively involved in the case until dismissed from the case by the program director or judge with competent jurisdiction, or when an adoption proceeding is finalized.
Return all case-related materials including, but not limited to, written notes, court reports, and agency documents, to the program director upon the request of the program director, and
Work with the cabinet representatives to advocate the best interest of the child
Although CASA volunteers work with others involved in the case, they remain independent.
Information Available to a CASA Volunteer
According to KRS 620.520:
Upon appointment by the court represent a child, the CASA volunteer shall have access to all information and records pertaining to the child including, but not limited to, the records of the following entities: the cabinet; child-caring facilities operated or licensed by the cabinet; public and private schools; physical and mental health care providers; law enforcement agencies; and other entities deemed appropriate by the court.
With court approval, the CASA volunteer may have access to information and records pertaining to the parents or person exercising custodial control or supervision of the child assigned to the CASA volunteer, information and records of the court; the cabinet; public and private child care facilities; private and public schools; and medical and psychological records of the child assigned to the volunteer. The volunteer shall have access to the medical and psychological records of parents when the court determines that the information is essential to the welfare of the child and the court orders it.
CASA Volunteer’s Role in Treatment Planning
CASA volunteers are authorized to participate in treatment planning conferences and KRS 620.550 requires that the Cabinet notify the CASA volunteer and the CASA program when it schedules treatment planning conferences and reviews.
So, would you like to "Make a Life Long Difference for a Child"? Please download and complete the CASA Volunteer application in MS Word or Adobe PDF format or click the "Apply Now" link above for an online application