What is a CASA?
A CASA is a Court Appointed Special Advocate, someone who stands up for the children who otherwise are unable to voice their needs themselves.
CASA of Tulare County recruits, trains and supports community volunteers who advocate on behalf of abused and neglected children in our community. CASA volunteers build relationships with the children they advocate for, by meeting regularly with them. As they get to know their CASA children, they make observations, and write reports directly to the judge with recommendations for what’s in the child’s best interests.
CASA volunteers come from every economic and ethnic background. Each volunteer's life experiences bring something unique to enrich a child's life. What advocates have in common is they care about children and want to make a positive difference.
One of our volunteers recently said that next to raising their own children, being a Court Appointed Special Advocate was the most rewarding thing that they had ever done.
A CASA volunteer develops a one-on-one relationship with their appointed child becoming a positive role model and an advocate for their well being. We get cases moving through the child welfare system and advocate strongly to help ensure each child is in a secure, safe home. Our program succeeds with help from dedicated staff, caring volunteers and generous donors like you.
A few hours of your time each week can make a world of difference to one of these children.
CASA volunteers are ordinary people who do extraordinary things for Tulare County's most vulnerable children. Be One!
Requirements to be a CASA
Imagine the experience of children who are removed from their home, their family, their siblings, and everything they know and care about. They find themselves in a world filled with social workers, lawyers, judges and courtrooms where life-altering decisions are made on their behalf.
A CASA volunteer is a court appointed, trained and committed adult who ensures that each child’s individual needs remain a priority in an overburdened child welfare system. They get to know the child while also gathering information from the child’s family, teachers, doctors, therapists, caregivers, and anyone else involved in the child’s life in order to make independent and informed recommendations to help the judge decide what’s best for the child. In Tulare County, CASA volunteers serve as a sworn advocate of the court, entitled to access information about the child's situation and required to make reports to the court in the child's best interest.
As a CASA volunteer, you:
- Spend quality time with the child or children you’re appointed to
- Communicate regularly with the child(ren)’s parents, relatives, teachers, doctors, therapists, caregivers and anyone else involved in the child’s life
- Participate in case meetings and review case files
- Gather and document information on your case
- Formulate recommendations on what’s in the best interest of the children
- Submit a court report and present your recommendations to the judge in the courtroom
Who can volunteer?
CASA volunteers come from every walk of life and share a commitment to improving children’s lives, a willingness to learn and an open mind towards life experiences different from their own. No special education, experience or background is needed.
A CASA volunteer is a trained community volunteer who is appointed by a juvenile court judge to speak for an abused or neglected child’s best interests. Volunteers are required to complete 30 hours of pre-service training, submit to screening and background checks and they must be 21 years of age or older.
You must be able to pass extensive reference, Child Protective Services, sex offender registry and criminal background checks before becoming a CASA volunteer. Volunteers should have effective oral and written communication skills and comfort with computer technology including email and word processing. You may not be a current foster parent or be in the process of adopting a child from Child Protective Services. If an attorney, you may not concurrently be appointed to any cases involving Child Protective Services in Tulare County.
You're not alone! CASA of Tulare County provides ongoing training and support for every volunteer. Each volunteer is assigned a case supervisor who serves as a resource for the volunteer every step of the way.