A Month in the Life of a CASA Volunteer

Nov 29 2017

by Ashika Sethi

Many potential volunteers ask us, “What all is involved with being a CASA volunteer?” and while the answer varies from case to case, the 15-20 hours per month spent as a CASA volunteer generally involve a regular set of calls and visits. Here’s an example of what a monthly schedule of a CASA volunteer looks like:

Stella* is a 12 year old child who is currently placed with her maternal grandmother. Stella’s CASA volunteer, Heather, was assigned to Stella’s case in March.

9/01: 0.5 Hours

Heather talks to Stella weekly on the phone. This week, Stella tells Heather about her violin lessons and her upcoming recital.

9/04: 1 Hour

Heather spends some time at home updating CASA’s database with some recent emails and meetings she has attended regarding Stella and her current placement.

9/08: 0.5 Hours

During this week’s phone call, Stella tells Heather she’s struggling to keep up with her math homework but enjoys her History and English classes.

9/13: 2 Hours

Heather makes her monthly in-person visit with Stella at her grandmother’s house. Stella shows Heather her violin performance for her upcoming recital and they go to Taco Cabana (Stella’s favorite restaurant!) for lunch.

9/14:  0.5 Hours

Heather talks to Stella’s grandmother on the phone to discuss how Stella is doing in school and with her occupational therapy sessions. They both resolve to talk with the therapist in the coming week about Stella’s progress.

9/16: 0.2 Hours

Heather talks to Stella’s occupational therapist on the phone. The therapist tells Heather she is slowly progressing and that their last few sessions were extremely productive. Heather documents the conversation in CASA’s database.

9/17:  0.5 Hours

Heather talks to Stella over the phone about tomorrow’s violin recital. Stella is nervous but excited to show off her talent!

9/18: 0.5 Hours

Heather does her routine call to Stella’s school. Heather discusses with Stella’s teachers about her struggles in math class and what options Stella has for after school tutoring.

9/19: 1 Hours

Heather visits Stella’s biological parents at their home to discuss their progress this month. They talk about Stella’s violin recital and the upcoming court hearing. Heather documents the conversation in CASA’s database.

9/19: 0.2 Hours

Heather calls Stella’s mother’s therapist to check up on her progress and attendance.

9/20: 2 Hours

Heather spends some time at home updating CASA’s database with news about Stella and the calls she has placed in the last few weeks. She writes notes about each call and visit so it’s easier to reference in court reports.

9/22: 1 Hour

Heather talks to her CASA Supervisor about Stella’s upcoming court hearing regarding her Child Protective Services (CPS) case.

9/22: 0.2 Hours

Heather sends an email to Stella’s attorney about some forms that need to be filled out and sent to Stella’s current therapist.

9/22: 0.2 Hours

Heather sends an email to Stella’s CPS caseworker to discuss logistics, forms and how Stella is doing in school.

9/23: 1 Hour

Heather calls Stella’s CPS caseworker to discuss what list of services will be provided for Stella’s biological parents and how they’ve been keeping up with their service appointments.

9/25: 0.2 Hours

Heather sends an email to CPS inquiring about the results of Stella’s father’s psychological evaluation. Heather documents the conversation in CASA’s database.

9/25: 2 Hours

Heather writes a court report for the upcoming court hearing in late October. She includes details about how Stella is enjoying her current placement at her maternal grandmother’s house and how Stella is excelling at violin.

9/27: 1 Hour

Heather goes over her recommendations for Stella with her CASA supervisor to see if their thoughts are aligned. They finalize the court report and discuss what to say at the status hearing.

9/28: 1 Hour

Stella and Heather talk on the phone about the upcoming status hearing. Heather asks Stella if she wants to talk to the judge privately after the hearing and Stella agrees - she’s excited to tell the judge about how much she is enjoying her current placement. Heather documents the conversation in CASA’s database and shares this information with Stella's attorney and CPS caseworker. 

9/30: 1.5 Hours

Heather attends Stella’s violin recital and she plays beautifully! CASA volunteers are required to see their child once a month but Heather wanted to show support for Stella at her recital since she’s been practicing for months, so she visited her twice!

This case is based on a child living in the Austin area, but a large number of the children we serve are placed outside of Austin. Learn more about the travel requirements for volunteers on our blog post, A Different Kind of Summer Travel.

*Stories are based on real life stories of CASA volunteers and youth, but names and key details are changed to protect the confidentiality of our clients.