CASA Volunteer Frequently Asked Questions
- How do I report child abuse or neglect?
- What specifically does a CASA Volunteer do?
- Is there a typical “type” of CASA Volunteer?
- What educational or work experience is required to be a CASA Volunteer?
- Can college students become CASA Volunteers?
- How much time does it take to be a CASA Volunteer?
- Can I bring my CASA child around my own children and family?
- How does a CASA volunteer become involved in a child welfare case?
- What types of cases can I expect to work on?
- How old are the children involved?
- Where do the children live?
- Why do I have to commit 18 months to the CASA program?
- My question is not answered here, who can I ask?
How do I report child abuse or neglect?
If you feel that children are in immediate danger please call 911. If you suspect abuse or neglect call the Merced County Child Protective Services 24-hour crisis phone number at 209-385-3104.
What specifically does a CASA Volunteer do?
-Commit a minimum of 18 months to a case.
-Regularly visit with the child (minimum of twice per month).
-Be available for emotional support.
-Ensure the child's needs are being met.
-Act in the best interest of the child.
-Turn in monthly summary reports to the CASA Office.
-Appear for the child's court hearing (usually every 6-12 months).
-Write a court report for the child's court hearing (usually every 6-12 months).
-Complete ongoing training, 12 Continuing Education hours annually.
-Regularly communicate with all professionals involved in the case (Social Workers, Foster Parents, School Personnel, Attorneys, Biological Family).
...These are just some of the duties our CASA Volunteers carry out. Each case is uniquely different and could require more or less time and/or duties depending on each individual situation.
Is there a typical “type” of CASA Volunteer?
Not at all. Many types of community citizens can be effective advocates. We have advocates who are retired from work, who are full time students, also advocates who work full time. We just ask that you reserve enough time to see you CASA Child minimally twice per month.
What educational or work experience is required to be a CASA Volunteer?
No one specific type of background is required. All CASA advocates must have the time to devote to the case; the ability to communicate clearly, both orally and in writing; and must complete approximately 30 hours advocate training and 5 hours of courtroom observation.
Can college students become CASA Volunteers?
Absolutely! Keep in mind, Advocates must be 21 years or older, able to dedicate 10-15 hours per month to their case and commit 18 months to a case. Students pursuing Social Work, Sociology, Child Development, Psychology, Liberal Arts, or other fields that would encounter working with children are ideal matches for CASA Volunteers. Often times, college students who are seeking Child Welfare experience in preparation to become Social Workers or other Child Welfare/Child Development related careers, become successful CASA Volunteers .
How much time does it take to be a CASA Volunteer?
A CASA Volunteer spends approximately 10-15 hours per month on their case. We ask that you visit the child at least twice per month. You can make the visits short & sweet or as long as full day outings (with Social Worker and Foster Parent permission of course).
Can I bring my CASA child around my own children and family?
Unfortunately, you cannot. In order to uphold strict confidentiality, you must keep your personal life separate from the work you do on your CASA case.
How does a CASA volunteer become involved in a child welfare case?
A professional involved in the child’s case will identify a need for a CASA worker and send a referral to the CASA Office. The CASA Office then assesses available CASA advocates for assignment. Once a CASA Volunteer is matched to a case, the Juvenile Dependency Judge signs off on the proper documents to begin advocacy.
What types of cases can I expect to work on?
We serve children of all backgrounds, ethnicities and ages. You can expect to work on a case with a child who needs a consistent adult in their life. The CASA training curriculum will prepare you for your case. You will also have continued support throughout your case by the CASA staff and your Peer Coordinator.
How old are the children involved?
CASA advocates may be assigned to children ranging in age from newborn to age 20. In California, Assembly Bill 12 (AB12) allows foster youth to remain in foster care until their 21st birthday.
Where do the children live?
Children involved with the Merced County Human Services Agency live in Resource Families homes, group homes or in relative placements throughout Merced County. Often times, children can be placed in cities outside of Merced County.
Why do I have to commit 18 months to the CASA program?
We ask that the CASA volunteer stay on the case until the case is closed or has reached some type of resolution (the average duration of time in foster care is 18 months). By committing 18 months, you are being a dependable adult to a child who undergoes a constant turnover of adults in his or her life.
My question is not answered here, who can I ask?
You may contact our office and speak to any of our friendly staff members at 209-722-2272. If you prefer you may also send your question via email to our Outreach Staff Member, Stefani Durbin at firstname.lastname@example.org.