A Court Appointed Special Advocate is a trained community volunteer, appointed by a district judge, to represent the best interests of abused and neglected children in court.
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 plus 3 hours of courtroom observation & 12 hours of continuing education)
- Be able to make an 18-month minimum commitment to a case.
(An average of 10-15 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.
Ready to get started? Just complete 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 scheduled each month on the second Wednesday at noon and 5:30 pm, and the fourth Wednesday at 4:30 pm.
step two: SUBMIT THE ADVOCATE APPLICATION MATERIALS
Once you’ve made the decision that becoming an Advocate is your goal, submit the following forms/documents:
- Court Appointed Special Advocate Volunteer Application (Takes about 30 minutes and must be completed in one sitting. Have contact information for 3 references, your driver’s license and insurance card handy.) This will be submitted automatically when you are finished.
- The DFPS Child Abuse Registry Check Consent Form (Download and complete);
- Copy of current Texas Driver’s License; and
- Copy of current auto insurance card. (The last three documents can be scanned and submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or brought to your interview).
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. We are also carefully discerning whether your skills, strengths, and available time are a match for the needs of the children we serve. After the interview, you will be contacted about how to proceed.