A CASA Volunteer is an official part of judicial proceedings, working alongside attorneys and foster care case managers. By handling only one case at a time the CASA has time to thoroughly explore the history of each assigned case. 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 at one time or another who might have facts about the case. The volunteer reviews all court facts and documents pertaining to the case. 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 and those court-ordered services are provided to them and the family. Each volunteer assigned to a case is supervised by one of the program's staff to assure consistency in volunteer activities and as a resource and guide in the complexity of child welfare proceedings.
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.
You do not have to be a lawyer or social worker to be a volunteer. We welcome people from all walks of life. We are simply looking for people who care about children and have common sense. As a volunteer, you will be thoroughly trained and well supported by professional staff to help you through each case.
We also welcome CASA teams such as: Husband/Wife and/or Mother/Daughter.
Do I need to have any special skills or meet any requirements?
No special background or education is required to become a CASA volunteer. We encourage people from all cultures and professions, and of all 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
For now, this schedule stands. Volunteering is always a good idea and our civic duty. However, if a quarantine or certain restrictions still apply at the beginning of classes, we will postpone, go virtual, or cancel. We will keep you up to date. Thank you!
CHANGE A CHILD'S STORY
CASA of Venango County, Inc.