CASA Program

 
Become a CASA Volunteer

CASA Court Appointed Special Advocates

A program that trains and supervises community volunteers from all walks of life to be a voice in Court for abused and neglected children, to help judges find them safe and permanent homes.

CASA Recruits and Trains...
community volunteers from all walks of life to advocate for children in need of care.

CASA Assists the Court...
in its determination of the best interest of children by providing a first-hand, independent perspective.

CASA Benefits...
our community by working to help end the cycle of child abuse.

CASA HELPS...
children have what all children deserve - safe, permanent homes.

A CASA is a:

- Fact Finder
- Observer & Reporter
- Monitor
- Service Advocate
- Courtroom testifier
- Team conference participant

Helpful Links

The Louisiana CASA Association
The National CASA Association 
Optima (for YSB CASA Volunteers only - login required)

Please call 985-649-4092 to request an information packet about the CASA program.
Volunteers are needed in St. Tammany and Washington Parishes, and our next training starts soon!


 

Louisiana Children's Trust Fund

 

CASA Frequently Asked Questions


Q: What is a CASA volunteer?
ANSWER: A Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer is a trained citizen who is assigned by a judge to represent the best interests in court of a child who has been abused or neglected. Children helped by CASA volunteers include those who are in the legal custody of the state (foster care).

Q: What is the role of the CASA volunteer?
ANSWER: A CASA volunteer provides a judge with carefully researched background details about the child to help the court make a sound decision about that child’s future. Each foster care case is as unique as the child involved. The CASA volunteer makes recommendations in the best interest of the child – whether it is to return to their parents, to be placed with other family members, to be freed for adoption, or sometimes to remain in foster care a while longer. The CASA volunteer attends Court approximately once every 6 months to make recommendations and follows through on the case until it is permanently resolved.

Q: What are the qualifications of a CASA volunteer?
ANSWER: A CASA volunteer is an individual who is at least 21 years of age, has successfully passed the application and screening process, is trained by the program, sworn-in as a CASA by the Judge, and appointed by the court to advocate for children who come into the court system as a result of abuse or neglect. The CASA volunteer respects a child’s inherent right to grow up with dignity in a safe environment that meets the child’s best interest, and advocates for the child’s best interest in the court at every stage of the case once appointed by the court. CASA volunteers are recruited without regard to race, gender, handicap, or age. The sole qualification for volunteer recruitment is the individual’s suitability to perform the CASA role.

Q: How are CASA volunteers trained?
ANSWER: Youth Service Bureau CASA volunteers must complete our program’s pre-service training. The 30-hour training consists of 5 classroom sessions of about 3 hours each, and about 15 hours of online work. CASA Volunteers also participate in 12 hours of continuing education annually. Most trainings are offered in the evening to accommodate the needs of volunteers who work or attend school, but pre-service and in-service training is sometimes offered during the day.

Q: How do CASA volunteers investigate a case?
ANSWER: To prepare a recommendation, the CASA volunteer talks with the child, parents, family members, foster parents, social workers, school officials, health providers and others who are knowledgeable about the child’s situation. The CASA volunteer also reviews all records pertaining to the child – school, medical, case worker reports and other documents.

Q: How do CASA volunteers differ from social service case workers?
ANSWER: Child protection caseworkers are employed by the State and carry large, full-time caseloads, serving as the case managers. The CASA volunteer is an independent appointee of the court and does not replace these social service caseworkers. The CASA volunteer is typically assigned to only one child or sibling group at a time. The CASA volunteer thoroughly examines a child’s case, knows about various community resources and makes independent recommendations to the court in the child’s best interest.

Q: How much time is required to volunteer?
ANSWER: Each case is different. CASA volunteers spend an average of 10 to 11 hours a month on their cases doing research and meeting and talking to people in person or by telephone who are involved in the child’s life. The CASA volunteer visits the child at least once every 30 days and typically spends about an hour on that visit.

Q: How long does a CASA volunteer remain involved?
ANSWER: Again, each case is different. We ask the volunteer to continue until the case is permanently resolved, an average of 18 months. One of the primary benefits of CASA is that, unlike other court principals who often rotate cases, the CASA volunteer is a consistent figure in the proceedings and provides continuity for the child.

Q: Is there a “typical” CASA volunteer?
ANSWER: CASA volunteers come from all walks of life and possess a variety of professional, educational and ethnic backgrounds. Most are employed in full- or part-time jobs.

Q: Do lawyers, judges and social workers support CASA?
ANSWER: Yes. Juvenile court judges implement the CASA program in their courtrooms and appoint volunteers. CASA has been endorsed by the American Bar Association, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Q: How is the CASA Program funded?
ANSWER: The Youth Service Bureau receives funding from grants, individual and corporate donations, foundations, and fundraising events. If you would like to make a donation, please visit our website donations page or mail your tax-deductible contribution to Youth Service Bureau, 430 N. New Hampshire, Covington, LA 70433.