Being a CASA volunteer champion is a journey that will shape the future of a young person’s life while changing your own. It begins with training that will ground you in the court and child protection systems, early childhood through adolescent development, cultural diversity training, CASA-relevant law and legal issues, and the basics of interviewing and report writing.
Once you’ve successfully completed our comprehensive 35-hour course, you will take an oath administered by the Dependency court judge. Then you will become eligible for appointment by the Delaware County or Chester County Dependency Court to review and monitor the case of a child or youth experiencing abuse or neglect.
Your responsibilities? Building trust, investigating, observing, analyzing and developing relationships to discern and champion the best interests of the child and then advocating for what’s best through written reports. What does that look like on the ground? It means you’ll engage in:
- Conducting a thorough investigation into both a child or youth’s history and current status by talking with all relevant parties, including but not limited to, social workers, foster parents, relatives, teachers, day care providers, therapists, mentors, doctors, tutors and youth leaders.
- Meeting and then having monthly visits with the child or youth associated with your case.
- Attending all meetings that center on the child or youth involved, including but limited to schools, the foster network or residential treatment team meetings and meetings with Delaware County or Chester County Youth Services.
- Securing written reports from all professionals involved on a regular interval and then preparing your own reports and recommendations.
- Collaborating with the case stakeholders to facilitate cooperative solutions that could include, but are not limited to: finding a therapeutic summer camp; finding a special education school or program that specializes in the services the child needs; ensuring that a medically fragile child is receiving all of the services, therapies and medications the child needs; locating a mental health therapist who has experience treating children in foster care; and locating relatives who may be willing to become foster or adoptive parents or who are willing to take on permanent legal custody of the child.
- Staying in close contact with your CASA Case Supervisor who partners with you during the whole of your engagement.
- Informing your CASA Case Supervisor immediately of any major developments in your case, including placement moves, injuries, re-abuse, etc.
- Maintaining a confidential and complete case record of all documents received and notes taken on each case assigned and archiving case files with CASA.
- In collaboration with your Case Supervisor, preparing and submitting a court report with recommendations for court hearings approximately every three to five months. This factual account of the child’s life since the last hearing is pivotal. In many cases, your report will be the most concise and specific history of the case.
- Appearing in court to present your findings and recommendations every three to five months.
- Additionally, continuing in the program also requires that you engage in 12 hours of continuing education annually.