Imagine the experience of children who are removed from their homes because the people responsible for protecting them have not. These children find themselves in a world filled with social workers, lawyers, judges and courtrooms where life-altering decisions are made on their behalf.
A CASA volunteer is a court appointed, trained and committed adult who ensures that each child’s individual needs remain a priority in an over-burdened child welfare system. They get to know the child while also gathering information from the child’s family, teachers, doctors, caregivers and anyone else involved in the child’s life in order to make independent and informed recommendations to help the judge decide what’s best for the child.
CASA volunteers come from every walk of life and share a commitment to improving children’s lives, a willingness to learn and an open mind towards life experiences different from their own. No special education, experience or background is needed.
You must be at least 21 years of age and be able to pass extensive reference, Child Protective Services, sex offender registry and criminal background checks before becoming a CASA volunteer. You may not be a current foster parent or be in the process of adopting a child from Child Protective Services. If an attorney, you may not concurrently be appointed to any cases involving Child Protective Services in Travis County.
For children who’ve been abused or neglected, CASA means having a home instead of feeling lost, and being a priority instead of feeling invisible.
For volunteers, CASA is a life-changing experience that makes our community a better place.
As a CASA volunteer you commit to spending an average of 15-20 hours per month on one specific case for at least a year. You research the case, talk with everyone involved and build a trusting relationship with your child or family of children. You will prepare reports to the court based on what you believe is best for the child, helping the judge make the most informed decision possible. The scheduling of your activities is flexible, and you will be paired with a staff professional who supports and guides you every step of the way.
Important Note: The training model and curriculum is changing for 2016! For current trainees in 2015, see the first part of our Training Schedule and Documents webpage. For new trainees starting in 2016, see below and see the second part of the Training Schedule and Documents webpage.
We will provide you with all the training and support you need to serve as an effective advocate. The revised 2016 CASA Volunteer Training program consists of 8 flexibly scheduled 3-hour classes, 4 online classes and 3 hours of courtroom observation (39 hours total) completed over a 5-week cycle. Your training begins with CASA 101 – Introducing the CASA/GAL Volunteer Role. You may take the remaining 11 in-person and online classes in any order according to your schedule. You must finish all 39 hours of training and observation within the 5-week cycle and all background checks must be completed and cleared in order to be assigned to a case. Classes are offered at a variety of times and days to suit different schedules.
Training topics include: Understanding Children; The Law, the Child Protection System & the Courts; Cultural Competence; Domestic Violence & Family Strengths; Poverty & Substance Abuse; Trauma Informed Care & Mental Health Issues; Family Finding & Educational Advocacy.
Contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Dean Smith, at 512.539.2667 or via email at email@example.com.
If you are looking for a meaningful and enriching volunteer opportunity in the Austin area and want to do something about child abuse, CASA is right for you. 700 children in Austin still needed a CASA volunteer last year. Our vision is to provide a trained volunteer advocate, a safe home and a promising future for every child who needs us. We hope you decide to join our community of volunteers.
CASA of Travis County’s Commitment to Equal Opportunity is an important part of our core values. In order to provide the best quality advocacy for children in our community, we believe that we must be responsive to the needs of everyone who may provide, receive or be affected by our services. To that end, all policies, practices and recommendations are administered without discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, age, gender, gender identity and gender expression, marital status, physical abilities or national origin.