Volunteer CASA Frequently Asked Questions
CASA kids need you and we want to answer your questions about helping them! Contact our office with any additional questions or concerns.
Q: What if I have no experience working with children, families or the courts?
A: No professional experience is required to be a volunteer CASA. We provide training, guidance, support and structure throughout the process. You can rely on the staff at CASA to work with you each step of the way.
Q: What kind of training is provided?
A: We provide 21 hours of initial training (2 days in-person plus required videos). We also provide on-going webinars; in-person workshops; online resources; and on-going professional guidance.
Q: What kind of staff support and guidance is provided?
A: You will work with a supervisor on staff who will explain each step of the process; provide you with sample questions for interviews; and answer any questions that may come up during your case. Your assigned supervisor will typically check in with you every 10 days or so if they don’t hear from you first.
Q: How much time should I set aside for my first case?
A: Generally, cases require 10-15 hours per month. For your first case, we recommend that you allow 4 hours a week for the first 2-3 months. We find that most volunteers work in increments, such that their hours may vary from week to week depending on their other time commitments.
Q: How many cases does a volunteer CASA handle at one time?
A: We ask that our volunteer CASAs work on just one case at a time, with some very rare exceptions. If you are interested in working on more than one case at a time, talk with your supervisor or call the CASA office.
Q: Can I work on my CASA case after work and on the weekends?
A: Yes. Scheduling interviews, home visits and writing your summaries can be coordinated for your convenience, so long as the report is completed by the designated due date. If you have trouble scheduling an interview with a teacher or professional for a time when you are available, your supervisor can help. The only exception is that if the case goes to trial and you are required to appear as a witness with our program attorney, you will need to appear on a weekday during business hours. (The trial date is specified when the case is assigned.)
Q: Do I need to take time away from my job to appear at court?
A: The trial date is set at the beginning of the case for everyone to reserve on their calendar. If the case does not go to trial (because the parties reached an agreement in mediation or because the case was dismissed for a legal reason), then the trial date is cancelled. However, if the case does go to trial, then yes, you will need to appear at court on a weekday during business hours.
Q: Is it safe for me to visit the children and interview the parents in their homes?
A: We review each case for safety and we run criminal background checks before asking a volunteer to accept a case. We provide training and instruction about best practices as well. If there is any concern about about an interview, that interview can take place at the CASA office or at the courthouse. Always err on the side of caution and talk with a staff supervisor about any concern.
Q: What if I want to take a vacation or I become ill?
A: You will have all the important due dates and the trial date for your calendar when/if you accept a case. The court and CASA understand that emergencies, illness and unforeseeable conflicts occur sometimes. Let your assigned supervisor know as soon as possible if you will be unavailable for a significant period of time; if anything prevents you from completing your report on time; or if you have any concern about the trial date so our legal team can proceed appropriately with the parties and the court.
Q: How will I know what services or structures to recommend for the child?
A: After you have gathered a significant amount of information and summarized most of your interviews in a report template, you will have a general idea about your top concerns regarding the child’s safety and well-being. Your supervisor will ask questions to ascertain your concerns and will offer suggestions, as well as a menu of frequently used recommendations that can be tailored for the case involving your CASA kid.
Q: How will I know what kind of information to include in my report for the court?
A: Our structured process includes guidance from an assigned staff supervisor, a written guide with suggested interview questions and report templates that prompt you to gather the information needed for court. Additionally, the staff regularly reviews cases and reports as a team to ensure you have all the information you need to advocate effectively for your CASA kid.