What is a CASA volunteer?
The CASA role is comprised of advocating, investigating, facilitating, and monitoring. This is accomplished by talking to the child, parents, family members, neighbors, school officials, doctors, and others involved in the child's life or family's life. The CASA helps to facilitate a collaborative relationship between all parties on the case. He/she submits written reports including recommendations as to the best interests of the child/children to the Judge at every scheduled hearing. The CASA continues involvement with the child/children in the case to assure that the judicial and child welfare systems are moving ahead to secure a safe, permanent home for the child/children. Each volunteer is supported by CASA staff as a resource and guide in the complexity of child welfare proceedings.
How did the CASA movement begin?
In 1977, a Seattle juvenile court judge concerned about making drastic decisions with insufficient information conceived the idea of citizen volunteers speaking up for the best interests of abused and neglected children in the courtroom. From that first program has grown a network of more than 1,000 CASA and guardian ad litem program offices that are recruiting, training and supporting volunteers in 49 states. Venango County CASA was started in 2005 under the direction of Youth Alternatives. In 2010 a change was made to have Venango CASA become a standalone program with the guidance of President Judge, Oliver Lobaugh, and the state office of PA CASA, Venango CASA, became its own 501(c)3 entity in 2012.
How do you become a CASA volunteer?
No special background or legal education is needed to become a CASA volunteer. We encourage people from all cultures, professions, and ethnic and educational backgrounds. Once accepted into the program, you will receive all necessary training in courtroom procedures, social services, the juvenile justice system, and the special needs of abused and neglected children.
The only requirements are:
Be 21 years old
Be willing to complete necessary background checks, provide references and participate in an interview
Complete a minimum of 25-30 hours of pre-service training
Be available for court appearances, with advance notice
Be willing to commit to the CASA program until your first case is closed
CHANGE A CHILD'S STORY
CASA of Venango County, Inc.