Frequent Asked Questions
What is a CASA Volunteer?
|A Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Volunteer is a trained citizen appointed by a J&DR Court judge to represent the best interests of abused and neglected children in court system. CASA volunteers can be appointed to various cases within the J&DR Court system, which include children in foster care who have been removed from their homes due to abuse and/or neglect; Child Protective Orders, CHINS Petitions (Child In Need of Services/Supervision), and custody matters.
How does a volunteer advocate investigate a case?
|To prepare a recommendation, the CASA volunteer talks with the child, parents, family members, social workers, school officials, health providers and others who are knowledgeable about the child's history. The CASA volunteer also reviews all records pertaining to the child such as school, medical, social worker reports, and other documents. This information is used to advocate for appropriate services for the child and is submitted in a court report prior to each hearing, so the judge can make informed decisions about the child's future.
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 men and women from all professions, ages, religions, ethnic, national origin and educational backgrounds to apply. All prospective volunteers must go through our screening process which includes application, reference and background checks, interviewing and training.
How are CASA volunteers trained?
|Once volunteers have completed the application and interview process, they are enrolled in a 30-35 hour pre-service training program. The training curriculum is from the National CASA Association and the facilitator is knowledgeable about child advocacy, social services and juvenile court system. The class also includes presentations from judges, social workers and other professionals.
How much time does it require?
|The scheduling of most volunteer activities is flexible. While each case is different, CASA volunteers usually spend an average of 10-15 hours each month doing research and meeting with the children on their case. More time is usually required at the very beginning of a case and in preparing the report for court hearings. CASA of Central Virginia requires a commitment of one year of service. It is expected that CASA volunteers will remain dedicated to their cases until the cases close. Sometimes it may take up to eighteen months for a case to close.
Where do CASA volunteers serve?
|Volunteers for CASA of Central Virginia have the option of working in any of the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Courts in the 24th Judicial District. The areas covered include: Lynchburg City, Bedford City, Campbell County, Amherst County, Bedford County, and Nelson County. Volunteers are supported by staff from the Lynchburg, Bedford, Amherst, or Campbell County Offices.
What is in the Code of Virginia concerning CASA?
|§ 9.1-151. Court-Appointed Special Advocate Program; appointment of advisory committee.
§ 9.1-152. Local court-appointed special advocate programs; powers and duties.
§ 9.1-153. Volunteer court-appointed special advocates; powers and duties; assignment; qualifications; training.
§ 9.1-154. Immunity.
§ 9.1-155. Notice of hearings and proceedings.
§ 9.1-156. Inspection and copying of records by advocate; confidentiality of records.
§ 9.1-157. Cooperation of state and local entities.
§ 63.1-248.3. Physicians, nurses, teachers, etc., to report certain injuries to children; penalty for failure to report.
§ 16.1-274. Time for filing of reports; copies furnished to attorneys; amended reports; fees.
How Else Can I Help?
|Even if you are unable to commit to become a CASA volunteer, there are other ways in which you can help. Some of these ways are:
How is CASA of Central Virginia funded?
|CASA of Central Virginia receives funding from the following sources: United Way of Central VA; Department of Criminal Justice Services; a grant from the Victims of Crime Act; Lynchburg, and the counties of Amherst, Bedford, Campbell and Nelson; donations from individuals, corporations, churches and civic organizations; and grants from private foundations. Funding is also provided by the major annual fundraising event, special events, and the sale of starfish ornaments and necklaces.
We are always seeking ways to diversify our funding sources and would appreciate being considered as the beneficiary of a fundraising event conducted by a community group. Please contact us at (434) 485-7260 if you have any suggestions!
Call 434-485-7260 today for more information about CASA, our work and training schedule.