What is a Court Appointed Special Advocate?
A Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) is a trained community volunteer that is appointed by the court to represent the best interests of children affected by abuse and neglect.
ARE YOU CASA STRONG?
get started with these 3 easy steps:
STEP ONE: Attend an Info Session
An Info Session is an orientation that will inform you about our agency, the duties of an Advocate, and other ways to help and support our mission. They are held three times each month at our Volunteer Training Center, 610 N Bell Ave., Denton, TX, or virtually on Zoom. You can view upcoming Information Session dates and register here.
step two: SUBMIT THE ADVOCATE APPLICATION MATERIALS
Once you’ve made the decision that becoming an Advocate is your goal, complete the application that is emailed to you after the Info Session. You will also be asked to submit your current Texas Driver’s License and proof of auto insurance. To ensure the safety of our volunteers, staff and the children we serve, CASA of Denton County will only accept volunteer applicants who pass both a criminal and child abuse background check.
STEP Three: COMPLETE AN INTERVIEW
We will review your application and get in touch with you to arrange an interview. This in-depth interview will help us get to know you better, and provide you with even more information you need to determine whether the CASA volunteer experience is right for you. After the interview, you will be contacted about how to proceed to your initial training, the Advocacy Academy.
Advocacy Academy is a 30-hour training course offered by CASA of Denton County. The program will prepare you for the one-of-a-kind CASA volunteer experience, and will leave you feeling inspired to begin your CASA journey!
CASA volunteers are everyday people – teachers, business people, retirees, stay-at-home moms, and grandparents – who are committed to making a difference for children who might otherwise slip through the cracks in an overburdened foster care system. They are appointed by judges to guide one child or one set of siblings through the system to safe, permanent homes as quickly as possible. CASA volunteers research case records and speak to each person involved in a child’s life, including family members, teachers, doctors, lawyers, and social workers. They monitor the progress of the child and family throughout the case and advocate for the child’s current and future needs in court in school, and in agency meetings. Their independent evaluations allow the court to make better informed decisions.
In order to best support our volunteer advocates in their work, each volunteer is paired with a staff Casework Supervisor who provides continued, one-on-one guidance and support to the advocate as he/she works a case.
The CASA volunteer advocate experience is unlike any other volunteer experience out there, and there are a number of minimum requirements that must be met in order to become an advocate.
A CASA Volunteer must:
- Be 21 years of age or older.
- Successfully pass screening and background check requirements.
- Successfully complete initial training provided by the CASA of Denton County program.
(30 hours of initial training including courtroom observation and independent study)
- Submit documentation monthly and keep current with 12 hours of continuing education annually.
- Be able to make an 18-month minimum commitment to a case.
(An average of 12-15 hours per month)
- Be able to keep information confidential and work within established program guidelines.
Not sure if you have what it takes? Click here to find out more about CASA and what kind of person makes a good volunteer advocate.