You can speak up for a child who's been abused or neglected. Become a CASA volunteer.

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.

As a CASA volunteer, you:

  • Spend quality time with your CASA child or children
  • Stay in touch with family, caregivers, teachers, therapists and other important adults in your CASA child’s life
  • Participate in case meetings and review case documents
  • Determine what is in the best interest of the children
  • Present your information and opinions to the judge in court

Who can volunteer?

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.

Impact

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.

  • A study by Texas Appleseed, "Improving the Lives of Children in Long-Term Foster Care," reports that "If a child has a CASA, the CASA usually is the only person who truly knows the child and knows how the child is really doing."
  • National CASA reports that children with CASA volunteers are more likely to receive therapy, health care and education, more likely to do better in school, less likely to be bounced from one place to another, less likely to get stuck in long-term foster care and significantly more likely to reach safe, permanent homes.
  • A CASA volunteer is often the child's only link to maintaining family connections and can be instrumental in identifying family members as temporary or permanent placement options.
  • Most importantly, children themselves report that they know and can rely on their CASA volunteers.

For volunteers, CASA is a life-changing experience that makes our community a better place.

Your commitment

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.

Training

We will provide you with all the training and support you need to serve as an effective advocate. CASA training consists of 12 3-hour classes and 3 hours of courtroom observation (39 hours total). Your training must begin with “CASA 101: Introducing the CASA/GAL Volunteer Role,” and must end with “Policies & Procedures.” You may take the remaining 10 classes in any order according to your schedule. Training must be completed within 4 months of your start date. You must finish all 39 hours of training and observation before you will be assigned to a child. Classes are offered at a variety of times and days to suit your schedule. 

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. 

View our current training schedules.

To help you in your decision process you can:

I'm ready to volunteer... What’s next?

  1. Download, complete and submit your Volunteer Application* and Volunteer Agreements* via mail or email
  2. Once we receive your application and agreements, we will call you to schedule a Pre-Training Interview.
  3. Attend CASA Training (View the Training Schedule).

*Both documents are PDFs that can be saved and filled out on your computer or printed and filled out by hand. 

Still have questions?

Contact our Director of Volunteers, Dean Smith, at 512.539.2667 or via email at volunteer@casatravis.org.

You can do something about child abuse.

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.