Become a CASA!
A child has rights. As national spokespersons for CASA for Children, Dr. Phil and Robin are committed to giving a voice to the many children who fall through the cracks in the foster care system.
Each year, more than 600,000 children experience foster care in this country. CASA 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. Volunteers are given a case and commit to staying on it until the child is placed in a safe, permanent home.
You don't have to worry about having a specialized education or background; your desire to help abused and neglected children find safe, permanent homes is enough. CASA volunteers must pass a background check and participate in a 30-hour training course. After successfully completing the course, the volunteer is assigned his or her first case. The average time commitment to a case is approximately 10 hours per month, and volunteers are asked to stay with a case until it is closed, a year and a half on average.
Typical duties include:
- Conduct an independent investigation by reviewing all pertinent documents and records and interviewing the child, parents, social workers, foster parents, teachers, therapists, daycare providers and other relevant persons to determine the facts and circumstances of the child's situation.
- Provide written reports at every hearing which include findings and recommendations. The report documents the extent of the volunteer's investigation, lists each source of information and includes sufficient facts to justify the recommendations.
- Appear at all hearings to advocate for the child's best interests and provide testimony when necessary.
- Explain the court proceedings and the role of the CASA volunteer to the child in terms the child can understand.
- Make recommendations for specific, appropriate services for the child and the child's family and advocate for necessary services which may not be immediately available.
Bonnie shares her experiences as a CASA volunteer.