There are, of course, all kinds of ways to become an advocate for children; one of the greatest ways (and the way that will be the focus of this article) is by becoming a CASA volunteer. CASA stands for court-appointed special advocate, and it’s a program designed to empower children who have been victims of abuse or neglect by providing one-on-one assistance through court-appointed volunteers (also called special advocates).
So what exactly does all of this mean? Read on for more information about CASA and what you can do to become an advocate for children.
CASA was established in 1977 when Seattle judge David Soukup expressed concern about making decisions on abused and neglected children’s court cases when he didn’t have enough information. David thought it would be beneficial to appoint community volunteers to speak on behalf of those children; and it was. He requested volunteers and 50 citizens responded. Since then, CASA has nearly 60,000 advocates and has helped more than 2 million children.
How You Can Help
By becoming an advocate! As an advocate, you work directly one 1 child’s case at a time. This is the wonderful thing about a program like CASA. You’re not swamped with several cases like lawyers are; you get to focus on 1 case–one child’s life. Now for the nitty gritty details:
1. Search for your local CASA program and contact them directly
2. Complete a 30-hour training course & background check
3. Take on your first case as an advocate. You will be asked to dedicate approximately 10 hours per month. Most cases last about 1 1/2 years.
For more details on the duties of a child advocate, see CASA’s Top 10 Commitment List.