CASA Volunteers - ordinary people doing extraordinary work.
CASA volunteers are assigned to an abuse or neglect case by judges. They conduct thorough research on the background of the case, reviewing documents, interviewing everyone involved, including the child. They make reports to the court, recommending what they believe is best for the child, providing the judges with information that will help them make an informed decision. CASA volunteers can be instrumental in assuring that a child or family receives services that the court has ordered - things like substance abuse counseling or special education testing. During the life of a case, a CASA volunteer monitors the child's situation to make sure they remain safe. CASA volunteers may be the only constant the child knows as they move through the labyrinth of the child welfare system.
At CASA of Southwest Missouri, our goal is to create a stress-free experience in becoming a CASA advocate. Below is what you can expect when applying to become a volunteer:
How to become a volunteer:
► Complete an application on www.casaswmo.org
► Once you submit the application, you will receive a call from our staff in 24 hours to answer any questions you may have and set up an in-person interview.
► The interview takes approximately one hour to complete and will be conducted by a CASA staff member at our office. The interview includes questions about why you want to become a volunteer, your ability to make a 2-year commitment, and other relevant information.
► Once you complete your interview, you will commit to a training schedule that works for you.
► Background checks will be completed and received.
► Attend in-person training and complete online training.
► Attend swearing-in ceremony
Your first Case Assignment:
► Meet with your volunteer coordinator to review your new case packet. You will go over guidelines and expectations for your new case. During this time you will also choose your first case to be assigned. It is important that you have a voice in what case you would like to take. We take your recommendations on age, gender, etc. so that you can have a case that you are comfortable with.
► Your Volunteer Coordinator will have you appointed by the court to that case.
► Your Volunteer Coordinator will assist in initial team communication and attend meetings and court hearing with you to get you acclimated to the case.
► Your Volunteer Coordinator will also continue to guide and support you throughout the entirety of your case and be able to answer any questions that may arise.
Job Title: Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA)
Report to: The Volunteer Coordinator
Purpose of the Position: The CASA is a volunteer advocate for abused and neglected children who are involved in the legal system in Greene and Christian counties appointed by the county Judges. The CASA will build a relationship with the child(ren), review the facts of the case, and recommend those actions believed to be in the best interest of the child(ren). The CASA will work to ensure that the child(ren) they are assigned to have a safe, permanent home.
► Demonstrate an inclusive attitude toward all people throughout an assigned case including children, youth, families, team members, and providers. Ensuring that you approach each person and situation without bias as to their race, color, religion, gender identity, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, and sexual orientation will be a priority in your role.
► Visit the child at least twice a month.
► Read the case record and discuss it with the caseworker.
► Gather information from all parties and professionals involved in the assigned case.
► Review all placement alternatives available to the child.
► Maintain contact on a regular, recurring basis with all who have responsibilities to the child, or who can readily be expected to influence the final outcome of the case, including the caseworker, foster parents, attorneys, and others.
► Maintain written records of all findings, dates of contacts, and names of persons interviewed.
► Report the status of the case to the Volunteer Coordinator on a monthly basis.
► Attend staffings concerning the child.
► Prepare and submit a typed draft of all court reports to the Volunteer Coordinator 3 weeks prior to scheduled hearings.
► Appear at all court hearings and testify according to the written court report, adding any new information not contained in the report.
► Monitor the case to ensure court orders are being carried out, services to the child are being furnished, and placement is appropriate.
► Keep the case activity information and submit volunteer hours in Optima by the first day of each month.
► Request and accept support from the Volunteer Coordinator.
► Return all case records to CASA at the conclusion of the case.
Qualifications and Requirements of the Position:
► Must be at least 21 years of age.
► Have a high school diploma or equivalent.
► Complete application, interview, background screenings (Child Abuse and Criminal).
► Have a concern for children and a genuine desire to help.
► Have the willingness to commit to an average of 5-10 hours per month for 2 years as a volunteer.
► Not a current employee of the Juvenile Justice Center or Children's Division (formerly known as DFS).
► Not a current foster care provider in the county they are a CASA in.
CASAs must commit to a minimum of two years of service.
CASAs will complete 30 hours of pre-service training conducted by CASA of Southwest Missouri
Child Welfare Systems and Policies
Juvenile Justice Systems and Procedures
Child Abuse and Neglect
The Effects of Trauma
How to Build Resilience in Children
Effective communication on your case
The Importance of Diversity and Inclusion
Advocating for LGBTQ+ Youth