As FOCUS ON YOUTH/CASA prepares to serve the children in the 21st District Juvenile and Domestic Courts.There is always a need for volunteers to provide advocacy to children involved in court proceedings. Being the VOICE of a
Child is a challenging and rewarding experience for those ages 21 and up looking for a way to give back to their community. You must complete the application by clicking on the link at the bottom of the VOLUNTEER tab and submit your information. You must be able to pass an extensive background check as dictated by the Code of Virginia. Our next volunteer training will begin in September 2019. Please sign up today.
How Do CASA/GAL Volunteers Help Children?
CASA/GAL volunteers are appointed by judges to watch over and advocate for abused and neglected children, to make sure they don't get lost in the overburdened legal and social service system or languish in inappropriate group or foster homes. Volunteers stay with each case until it is closed and the child is placed in a safe, permanent home. For many abused children, their CASA/GAL volunteer will be the one constant adult presence in their lives.
Who Are CASA Volunteers?
Last year, more than 76,000 CASA and guardian ad litem (GAL) volunteers helped more than 251,000 abused and neglected children find safe, permanent homes. CASA/GAL volunteers are everyday citizens who have undergone screening and training with their local CASA/GAL
Judges appoint CASA volunteers to represent the best interests of children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect. Each year, more than 600,000 children experience foster care in this country. Because there are not enough CASA/GAL volunteers to represent all of the children in care, judges typically assign CASA /GAL volunteers to their most difficult cases.
COURT APPOINTED SPECIAL ADVOCATE INFORMATION
Roles and Responsibilities
COURT APPOINTED SPECIAL ADVOCATE DUTIES
Pursuant to Sections 9.1 - 153 of the Code of Virginia, the CASA shall:
- Investigate the case to provide independent factual information to the court.
- Submit to the court a written report of the investigation in compliance with statutory provisions regarding such reports. The written report shall include recommendations as to the child's welfare.
- Monitor the case to ensure compliance with court orders, including observing the child in his or her placement.
- Assist the Guardian ad litem in
representationof the child's needs and best interest.
- Act as a mandated reporter for child abuse to neglect pursuant to Virginia Code 63.2-1509.
Pursuant to Virginia Code 9.1-156, a CASA disclose the content of any document or record to which the CASA may become privy, which is otherwise confidential pursuant to provisions of the Code of Virginia, except upon order of a court of competent jurisdiction
Qualification for our CASA Volunteers
Volunteer advocates must be a high school graduate who is at least 21 years of age. The main qualification is a sincere concern for the well being of children. The volunteer must be a mature adult of sound character with good verbal and written communication skills. The CASA volunteer must be able to interact and talk with people of various educational and ethnic backgrounds. An essential characteristic is the ability to be objective and nonjudgmental. All volunteers must pass the FBI and Central Registry Background Checks
The Requirements for our CASA Volunteers
After completing training, volunteers are required to make a one-year commitment to the CASA program. They attend continuing education sessions on an on-going basis, totaling 12 hours per year. an up-to-date file must be kept on each case and must be returned to the CASA office upon completion of the case. A written report is prepared for each court hearing in a timely manner
Focus On Youth offers two types of training for potential volunteers.:
- Classroom Study
Classroom study training is offered in March and August, with an instructor and speakers. For more information, please contact Cyndi Worley at 276.403.5058.
- Independent Study
*Court observations and home study observations are required for both studies.
*CASA volunteers are required to complete 12 hours of training annually after initial training of 35 hours.
As a student of the Independent Study program, you complete most of the National CASA curriculum on your own time and meet with your instructor either one-on-one or in a group setting. Focus requires at least 10 hours of
in personinstruction throughout your training. Two court observations and a court report project are also a requirement to complete the Independent Study Program. Contact the CASA Volunteer Coordinator at 276.403.5058 for more information on the Independent Study program.