FAQ

 

What is a CASA volunteer?

What is the PARACHUTE CASA's role?

How does a CASA research the case? 

How does a CASA volunteer differ from a child protective services caseworker? 

How does the role of the CASA VOLUNTEER differ from the Attorney, Guardian Ad Litem?

Is there a typical CASA volunteer?

Can anyone volunteer as a CASA? 

What training does a CASA volunteer receive?

How does the CASA volunteer relate to the child he or she represents?

How many cases, on an average, does a CASA volunteer carry at one time? 

How much time does it require to be a CASA volunteer?

How long does a CASA volunteer remain involved with a case? 

Are there any other agencies or groups that provide the same service?

Why are CASA's assigned to children's cases?

Do CASA's really make a difference for children?

 

What is a CASA volunteer?

A CASA volunteer  (Court Appointed Special Advocate is a trained community volunteer who is appointed by Juvenile Court to represent the best interest of a child who is involved in a court proceeding as a result of having been abused or neglected. The PARACHUTE CASA works independently as the child's voice in court, advocating for a safe, permanent and loving home for the child.  

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What is the PARACHUTE CASA's role?

The CASA volunteer provides the Judge with carefully researched information about the child to help the court make a sound decision about the child's future.  The CASA is committed to thinking independently and objectively about each child's case.

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How does a CASA research the case?

To prepare a recommendation, the CASA volunteer talks with the child(ren), parents, family members, case workers, school officials, health providers, mental health provider, 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, and caseworker reports.

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How does a CASA volunteer differ from a child protective services caseworker?

Child Protective Services caseworkers by law investigate the allegations of abuse and neglect.  They must consider reuniting the family, when appropriate, which requires considering the interests of all family members.  Parents of children involved in court proceedings are represented by their own legal counsel.  While many other professionals are involved, the CASA volunteer is the only person whose sole task is to focus on protecting the best interest of the child.

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How does the role of the CASA VOLUNTEER differ from the Attorney, Guardian Ad Litem?

An attorney may be appointed to represent the child depending on the child's case circumstances. An attorney GAL is responsible for providing legal counsel and representation for the child in the courtroom. The CASA volunteer provides crucial information from interviews and observations with the child, parents and others.

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Is there a typical CASA volunteer?

No.  CASA volunteers come from all walks of life, with a variety of educational, work experiences, life skills and ethnic backgrounds.  What CASA volunteers do have in common is their sincere concern for children. 

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Can anyone volunteer as a CASA?

Yes, as long as that person is an adult of sound character and committed to representing the interest of abused and neglected children.  No special background is required.  All applicants go through a full background screening.

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What training does a CASA volunteer receive?

CASA volunteers undergo a thorough training program conducted by PARACHUTE staff.  Volunteers learn about courtroom procedures as well as effective advocacy techniques for children.  Specific topics ranging from child abuse to family dynamics and advocacy skills are covered in CASA training.

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How does the CASA volunteer relate to the child he or she represents?

CASA Volunteers offer children trust, consistency and advocacy during complex and often times confusing legal proceedings.  They explain to the child the events that are happening, the reasons they are in court, and the role of the Judge, the lawyers and the social workers.  While remaining objective observers, the CASA volunteers also encourage the children to express their opinions and hopes.

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How many cases, on an average, does a CASA volunteer carry at one time?

The number varies by volunteer, however most CASA volunteers work with one family.

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How much time does it require to be a CASA volunteer?

Each case is different.  A CASA volunteer usually spend more time doing research and conducting interviews prior to the first court appearance.  More complicated cases take longer.  Once initiated into the system, volunteers donates  approximately  8 - 10 hours per month. 

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How long does a CASA volunteer remain involved with a case?

CASA volunteers stay appointed to the case until the case is resolved.  That may be when the children are safely at home with their parents, living with family members or placed permanently in an adoptive home.   This may take a varied amount of time.  Most children's cases take 1 year to 18 months to resolve.

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Are there any other agencies or groups that provide the same service?

No.  CASA programs are the only agency to train community volunteers to act as the child's voice in court.  

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Why are CASA's assigned to children's cases?

CASA's are assigned to provide a voice in court and to speak up for the child's best interests.  Volunteers provide extra monitoring of the child and act as beneficial watchdogs the court and child protection systems. 

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Do CASA's really make a difference for children? 

Yes!  CASA volunteers provide continuity, advocacy and concern for each child they are working with.   Studies show that children assigned CASA volunteers have fewer moves while in foster  placement, receive more services, are visited more and end up in safe, permanent homes quicker than those children without CASA volunteers.  Children's lives are improved with the help of a CASA volunteer.

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