CASA is the only volunteer organization that empowers everyday citizens as officers of the court. In an overburdened social welfare system, abused and neglected children often slip through the cracks among hundreds of open cases. CASA volunteers change that.
Appointed by judges, CASA volunteers typically handle just one case at a time—and commit to staying on that case until the child is placed in a safe, permanent home. While others may come and go, CASA volunteers provide that one constant that children need in order to thrive. One person can make a world of difference to a child.
Volunteer Your Time
We need your help. Our goal is to provide a volunteer advocate to each and every abused or neglected child with an open deprivation case in the Enotah Circuit Juvenile Court. We can’t accomplish this goal without your help. Please call us at 706-864-0300 or email us today.
In addition to the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) we need “Ambassadors” to take our message to the public and help raise support for our cause. We provide the training, you supply the time and energy, and lives are changed.
Research studies have shown that the introduction of just one caring adult in the life of an abused child can change the course of that child’s life forever. With volunteer advocates, children who have known only hurt, rejection and disappointment from adults learn to trust, and hope, and love. A court appointed volunteer advocate makes a profound and positive difference for abused children.
When you become a CASA advocate, you are more than simply a volunteer—you are a sworn officer of the Juvenile Court. With this title, you are given permission to access the child’s records, interview people involved with the child, and present a formal recommendation to the judge. Each unique case will have different needs, but overall the CASA program has three main expectations of its advocates: commitment, confidentiality, and communication.
Too many people come in and out of these children’s lives. We want the CASA to be committed to the child and to follow the child’s case until successful closure, if possible. At a minimum, we expect the CASA to stay with a case for a year unless the case closes before that time. Volunteers are required to visit children monthly. On average, CASAs spend between 5 to 15 hours per month on their cases.
As an officer of the court, you will have access to sensitive information about the child and his or her family. You must maintain complete confidentiality—it is an issue of privacy, the privacy of an innocent child. Of course you will be able to discuss the case with your CASA case manager because he or she is also sworn to confidentiality. But you must refrain from sharing any identifying details with family members, friends, co-workers, or other community members.
Perhaps the most important skill a CASA advocate needs to learn is effective communication through writing, speaking, and listening. This communication applies to people involved in the child’s case, but also to your CASA Advocate Coordinator. We ask that you maintain regular contact by phone, e-mail, or visits to the office, including a monthly report to track your work. CASA Advocate Coordinators offer valuable support for our advocates. They have experience to assist in developing strategies, suggest community resources, and help compose court reports.
What kinds of people serve as CASA volunteers?
Being a CASA volunteer requires no specialized degrees or legal experience. It does require special people over the age of 21 who have:
A concern for children;
A genuine desire to help;
The ability to remain objective;
The maturity to deal with emotional situations;
The commitment to complete a 30-hour-minimum training course;
Sensitivity to people who are different from themselves;
Access to transportation and a flexible schedule; and
A willingness to devote at least one year to a child’s case.
How do I begin?
Your first step to becoming a CASA is to contact the office at 706-864-0300 or attend an Information Open House. This is your chance to learn more about the program, hear veteran advocates speak about their experiences and have all your questions answered.
I’m not sure I can commit to become an advocate right now. Is there something else I can do to help?
CASA has a variety of volunteer opportunities that would allow you to support our mission to serve abused children. You might consider attending one of our fundraising events, becoming a CASA Ambassador or Make a Donation.
Do I need special training to be an advocate?
Yes. The content of CASA’s 30 hours of training is mandated by the National CASA organization. You will learn about the child welfare system, how to work with children involved in the system, and other skills necessary to help your assigned child. In addition, you will get 10 hours of court observation so you see and experience Juvenile Court. Volunteers can choose from a range of options to satisfy the 12 hours of additional training that are required of advocates annually.
Join the CASA Ambassadors
CASA Ambassadors are individuals who want to help improve the lives of abused children, but do not have the time to take an individual case as a volunteer advocate. Ambassadors are often involved in planning and executing fundraising events. Ambassadors donate an amount of time that fits within the parameters of their own busy schedule. Contact our office at 706-864-0300 for more info or read more about becoming a CASA Ambassador.
Volunteer to help with an Upcoming Event!
In fiscal year 2015, Enotah CASA volunteers donated over 5000 hours of their time and advocated for the best interests of 211 children. (2014: 205 children) Our goal is to provide a volunteer advocate for every child who needs one. Your support will bring us one step closer to achieving that goal. Make your tax deductible gift online, by mail or by phone, (706) 864-0300 and help change a child’s life.