Every child deserves to have a safe, loving, stable home where they can grow and thrive. Unfortunately, not every child in our community is afforded this opportunity and when Child Protective Services intervenes, it is the role of the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA)/Guardian ad Litem (GAL) to step in – to give them a voice, to represent their best interests in court, and to advocate for a brighter, more stable future.
State and Federal mandates require that every child in an abuse and neglect case be appointed a guardian ad litem to represent the child’s best interest and perform the following duties:
- Conduct investigations to gather the facts constituting the alleged abuse or neglect.
- Interview or observe the child who is the subject of the proceeding.
- Have access to court, medical, psychological, law enforcement, social services and school records pertaining to the child and the child’s siblings and parents or custodians.
- Make written reports to the court concerning the child’s welfare.
- Appear and participate in all proceedings in order to adequately represent the child and make recommendations to the court concerning the child’s welfare.
- Perform other duties as directed by the court.
There is no special background or education required to become a volunteer. Our volunteers come from all walks of life and we embrace the diversity among us.
- Be 21 years of age
- Be willing to complete necessary background checks, provide references, and participate in an interview
- Complete a minimum of 30 hours of pre-service training
- Be available for court appearances, with advance notice
- Spend time with the child at least once a month
- Be willing to commit to the program until your first case is closed
The average volunteer spends approximately 10 hours a month on their case. The time commitment varies throughout the case, with a much greater time commitment involved in the very beginning.
We support our volunteers! Each volunteer is mentored one on one through his or her first case by a CASA/GAL staff member. In addition, we offer monthly in-service trainings, a monthly peer gathering, and other training and support opportunities.