Check out these FAQ regarding CASA. These helpful answers are provided to you by the Executive Director of CASA of Jefferson County, Brenda Torrez.
1. What is a CASA?
Court Appointed Special Advocates-CASA is a volunteer non profit organization that serves Children in Foster care in the court system by advocating for the child. CASA trains passionate and committed individuals from all walks of life who believe society has a fundamental obligation to these children. These Advocates provide an unbiased third party report to the court that enables the Judge to make decisions that are in the best interests of the child.
2. What is the role of the CASA?
The role of the CASA is to walk alongside the child in their journey in foster care. We are there from the first to last hearing until Permanency is achieved. We are the one constant in their lives with all the unknown. There are oftentimes many moves from placement to placement. In addition, the caseworkers may change repeatedly. The Advocate is the one that remains in their lives when all others have left. We are to provide accurate information to the courts to assist in the courts decisions for the child.
3. What is the difference between CASA and the agency (DCFS, LCFS, etc) worker?
The CASA is an unpaid volunteer. We are Advocates for the child. Our focus is on the child, however we do have correspondence with biological parents, foster parents and other professionals that have interactions with the child. We obtain this information to provide a report. We work with the agencies assigned to the child’s case such as DCFS, Caritas or LCFS. We obtain information from these agencies and often share information with caseworkers at these agencies as well.
4. How does CASA get involved in a case?
A CASA gets involved in a case when ordered by the court in a juvenile neglect and abuse hearing. An attorney, a judge, a caseworker and even a parent may request the court to appoint a CASA to his/her case.
5. Can anyone be a CASA, what are the qualifications?
Requirements include: 1 Be 21 years old. 2 Be willing to complete necessary background checks, provide references and participate in an interview. 3 Complete a minimum of 30 hours of pre-service training. 4. Be available for court appearances, with advance notice. 5. Be willing to commit to the CASA program until your first case is closed.
6. What training is required to become a CASA?
Training is 30 hours which normally occurs on Tuesday and Thursday evening from 5-8 PM. (Dinner is served) We then have 8 hours of court observation to complete. 12 hours of continued training per year is required which can be completed in the form of a webinar.
7. How many hours does a volunteer spend on each case per month? How many cases are assigned to each CASA?
Volunteers spend approximately 8-10 hours a month. Ideally the Advocate is assigned one case. Unfortunately the need may arise where you are asked to take another case as there is a need for Advocates to meet the needs of many children in the court system.
8. How do I sign up to become a CASA?
If you are local to Jefferson County , sign up at www.jeffersoncountycasa.com, click “BECOME AN ADVOCATE” Or can call the CASA office at 618-204-5453 for more details. Visit and like our Facebook page “CASA of Jefferson County.”
If you are not local, use the CASA office locator to find an office near you. https://nationalcasagal.org/our-work/programs/