What is a CASA?

A CASA is a Court Appointed Special Advocate, someone who stands up for the children who otherwise are unable to voice their needs themselves. Imagine the experience of children who are removed from their home, their family, their siblings, and everything they know and care about. They find themselves in a world filled with social workers, lawyers, judges and courtrooms where life-altering decisions are made on their behalf.

CASA of Tulare County recruits, trains and supports community volunteers who advocate on behalf of abused and neglected children in our community. CASA volunteers build relationships with the children they advocate for, by meeting regularly with them. As they get to know their CASA children, they make observations, and write reports directly to the judge with recommendations for what’s in the child’s best interests.

CASA volunteers come from every walk of life and share a commitment to improving children’s lives, a willingness to learn and an open mind towards life experiences different from their own. No special education, experience or background is needed. Each volunteer's life experiences bring something unique to enrich a child's life. 

 

We get cases moving through the child welfare system and advocate strongly to help ensure each child is in a secure, safe home. They get to know the child while also gathering information from the child’s family, teachers, doctors, therapists, caregivers, and anyone else involved in the child’s life in order to make independent and informed recommendations to help the judge decide what’s best for the child.

 

In Tulare County, CASA volunteers serve as a sworn advocate of the court, entitled to access information about the child's situation and required to make reports to the court in the child's best interest. Our program succeeds with help from dedicated staff, caring volunteers and generous donors like you.

A few hours of your time each week can make a world of difference to one of these children.

CASA volunteers are ordinary people who do extraordinary things for Tulare County's most vulnerable children. Be One!

 

Requirements of Becoming a CASA

As a CASA volunteer, there are certain requirements you must meet prior to actually being appointed a case with a foster child.

The stages of becoming a CASA volunteer are as follows:

  • Be 21 years of age or older

  • Attend a one-hour CASA orientation

  • Complete a Volunteer Application

  • Participate in a screening interview with CASA staff

  • Successfully complete a criminal background check and provide documentation of a safe driving record

  • Attend all training sessions and scheduled court tours

  • Participate in a final interview with a Case Coordinator

  • Participate in a swearing-in ceremony conducted by the presiding Tulare County Juvenile Court Judge, where you become an officer of the court and mandated child abuse reporter.

  • Meet with your CASA Case Coordinator to receive your case assignment and to schedule an introduction to the child and other parties involved in the case

Once sworn-in to the court, as a CASA volunteer, you:

  • Spend quality time with the child or children you’re appointed to

  • Communicate regularly with the child(ren)’s parents, relatives, teachers, doctors, therapists, caregivers and anyone else involved in the child’s life

  • Serve as a fact-finder for the Juvenile Court judge by thoroughly researching the background of the assigned case

  • Attend monthly Continuing Education training 

  • Participate in case meetings and review case files

  • Gather and document information on your case

  • Formulate recommendations on what’s in the best interest of the children

  • Submit a court report and present your recommendations to the judge in the courtroom

  • Speak on behalf of the child in the courtroom, representing his or her best interests

What else other information should I be aware of
when becoming a CASA Volunteer?

Again, you must be at least 21-years-old or older and be able to pass extensive reference, Child Protective Services, sex offender registry and criminal background checks before becoming a CASA volunteer. 

 

Volunteers should have effective oral and written communication skills and comfort with computer technology including email and word processing. 

 

You may not be a current foster parent or be in the process of adopting a child from Child Protective Services. 

 

If an attorney, you may not concurrently be appointed to any cases involving Child Protective Services in Tulare County.

Overwhelmed?

You're not alone! CASA of Tulare County provides ongoing training and support for every volunteer. Each volunteer is assigned a case supervisor who serves as a resource for the volunteer every step of the way.

 

THE JUVENILE DEPENDENCY

COURT PROCESS

 
 
Click the button below for ideas of what you
could do with your CASA kid once appointed!
CASA of Tulare County

Working to provide abused and neglected children in the foster care system with an advocate to speak on their behalf.

Email: info@CASATulareCo.org

Phone: 559-625-4007

Registered Charity: 77-0105876

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