It takes a special kind of person to be a CASA volunteer.
Court Appointed Special Advocates not only must be 18 and pass criminal background checks, but also have commitment and dedication. Most importantly, being a volunteer requires the desire to give a voice to children who otherwise wouldn't have one. These are youths who are sometimes bounced around the court system, often innocent victims caught in the crossfire of court cases such as divorces.
CASA volunteers work with the juvenile court, other juvenile agencies and guardians ad litem to decide what is best for children who have been placed in the court system through no fault of their own.
Volunteers must care about the welfare of children and complete a 10-week, 40-hour training that includes classroom work and observing the workings of the court.
CASA volunteers are from all walks of life who believe society has a fundamental obligation to make certain the children thrive, are treated with dignity and are kept safe, according to the Capital City CASA website.
Appointed by judges, they watch over and advocate for abused and neglected children. They try to make sure the children don't get lost in overburdened legal and social service systems, or languish in inappropriate group or foster homes. Volunteers remain on their client's cases until the children are placed in safe, permanent homes.
We reported on Friday that six more adults joined the existing CASA volunteers, bringing the total to more than 60. We commend the new recruits for performing a selfless duty that will make a difference in the lives of the estimated 130 children they represent in courtrooms.
As you can tell by the ratio of volunteers to children (60:130), more volunteers are needed.
The judicial system is often complex and confusing enough for adults. Imagine children trying to navigate the system, possibly with big decisions about their future in the balance.
If you think you have what it takes to help these children as a CASA volunteer, contact the agency at 893-CASA(2272) or firstname.lastname@example.org.