Is CASA of Siskiyou County the only one of its kind?
How did CASA programs get started?
How and when did CASA of Siskiyou County get started?
Is CASA of Siskiyou County the same as Choices for Children?
Are there other agencies or groups providing a similar service?
Can I volunteer without taking on a case/child?
What is a CASA volunteer?
What are the requirements of a CASA volunteer?
What age do you have to be in order to be a CASA?
Can I work full time and still be a CASA?
How many hours a week does it take to be a CASA volunteer?
What is the length of the CASA volunteer's commitment?
I travel occasionally; will I still be able to do that as a CASA?
Do CASA volunteers have to go to court?
Do you have to be an attorney, or have knowledge of the legal system to be a CASA volunteer?
Will I have support in court?
Do lawyers, judges, and social caseworkers support CASA?
How long is the CASA training?
Can I bring my children with me when I'm volunteering as a CASA?
Can I take my CASA child home with me for visits?
Do CASA volunteers meet the parents of their CASA child?
To whom does a CASA volunteer turn with questions or concerns?
How many children need a CASA in Siskiyou County?
Can I choose to advocate for a child who lives close to my home, so don't have to travel too far?
How is CASA funded?
How effective are CASA programs?
How do I get more information about becoming a CASA volunteer?
IS CASA OF SISKIYOU COUNTY THE ONLY ONE OF ITS KIND?
No, we are one of over 1,000 independent CASA programs nationwide. California has 41 other CASA programs, but our local program serves the children in Siskiyou County exclusively.
HOW DID CASA PROGRAMS GET STARTED?
In 1976 a Seattle judge, concerned about not having sufficient evidence with which to make decisions involving children victimized by abuse and neglect, conceived the idea of using trained community volunteers to speak for the best interests of these children in court. Today a CASA’s objective, unbiased recommendation to support the best interest of a child is considered an invaluable aid to the judge.
HOW AND WHEN DID CASA OF SISKIYOU COUNTY GET STARTED?
This CASA of Siskiyou County program began in February of 2004. A previous CASA program started in the late 1980s and was dissolved in 2003. Both programs were started in response to abuse and neglect of children in our county, which has one of the highest per capita rate of child abuse and neglect in the state.
IS CASA OF SISKIYOU COUNTY THE SAME AS CHOICES FOR CHILDREN?
No, the former CASA program was under the umbrella of Choices for Children, but this new program is not affiliated with Choices for Children.
ARE THERE OTHER AGENCIES OR GROUPS PROVIDING A SIMILAR SERVICE?
No. There are other child advocacy organizations, but CASA is the only program where volunteers are appointed by the court to represent a child’s best interests.
CAN I VOLUNTEER WITHOUT TAKING ON A CASE/CHILD?
Yes, there are many ways you can volunteer, including fundraising, serving on a committee, office help, and outreach. For more ideas, please click here to see ways you can help.
WHAT IS A CASA VOLUTEER?
A Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer is a trained citizen who is appointed by a judge to represent the best interests of a child in dependency court. Children helped by CASA volunteers include those for whom home placement is being determined in juvenile dependency court. Most of the children are victims of abuse or neglect and live in foster care. For a more complete job description, click here.
- Spend consistent, weekly time with your CASA child to provide support and consistency.
- Keep an eye out for any unmet need of the child and advocate for those needs to be met.
- Gather information about the child’s life by talking with everyone involved in his/her life.
- Based on your knowledge of the child and his/her needs, make recommendations to the judge about the child’s best interest, and need for a permanent, safe home.
- Monitor the case by doing all of the above until the child is placed into a safe, permanent and nurturing home.
WHAT AGE DO YOU HAVE TO BE IN ORDER TO BE A CASA?
You must be at least 21 years of age to be a CASA volunteer. Those under 21 are welcome to help with special office projects, outreach, and fundraising. For more ideas, please click here to see ways you can help.
WHAT IS THE LENGTH OF THE CASA VOLUNTEER’S COMMITTMENT?
The volunteer continues until the case is permanently resolved. One of the primary benefits of the CASA program is that, unlike other court principals who often rotate cases, the CASA volunteer is a consistent figure in the proceedings and provides continuity for a child. On average, dependent children spend about two years in foster care, so we ask for a two year commitment from our volunteers, or a commitment until the child is in a safe and permanent home.
I TRAVEL OCCASIONALLY; WILL I STILL BE ABLE TO DO THAT AS A CASA?
Yes. Consistency is one of the prime functions of a volunteer, but most volunteers take occasional vacations. We ask that you communicate with your case supervisor and your CASA child in advance of a travel date. Consider sending a post card to your CASA child or staying in touch by phone.
DO CASA VOLUNTEERS HAVE TO GO TO COURT?
Yes. Typically volunteers go to court 2-3 times a year. One of the most important and rewarding aspects of being a CASA is making recommendations to the Court for your CASA child. Judges rely heavily on this testimony to make an informed decision on the future of your child. Court hearings are typically scheduled every six months, and you will usually know the date of your CASA child’s hearing well in advance.
DO YOU HAVE TO BE AN ATTORNEY, OR HAVE KNOWLEDGE OF THE LEGAL SYSTEM TO BE A CASA VOLUNTEER?
No. CASA has volunteers from all professions, cultural, ethnic and educational backgrounds. No specific or previous experience is needed. CASA provides the training you will need.
DO LAWYERS, JUDGES, AND SOCIAL CASEWORKERS SUPPORT CASA?
Yes. Juvenile and family court judges choose to implement the CASA program in their courtrooms and appoint CASA volunteers. CASA has been endorsed by the American Bar Association, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention of the U.S. Department of Justice.
HOW LONG IS THE CASA TRAINING?
The total training lasts for 32 hours. Typically, there are ten sessions, three hours each, plus a court observation, and this usually takes place over five weeks. The training covers many important topics such as common causes for neglect and abuse, cultural competence, court proceedings, confidentiality, court report writing, and child development.
DO CASA VOLUNTEERS MEET THE PARENTS OF THEIR CASA CHILD?
Most often, yes. CASA volunteers speak with everyone involved in their CASA child’s life, including parents, teachers, social workers, foster parents, mental health and medical providers. If you feel uncomfortable meeting with anyone, you may request a CASA staff person to go with you.
TO WHOM DOES A CASA VOLUNTEER TURN WITH QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS?
Every volunteer has a case supervisor. He or she is available to answer any questions or concerns you may have. Our job is to support CASA volunteers!
HOW MANY CHILDREN NEED A CASA IN SISKIYOU COUNTY?
As of December 2009 there were approximately 200 dependent children in Siskiyou County. This is one of the highest per capita rates of dependent children in California. Most, if not all, of these children could use a CASA volunteer to be a voice for them.
CAN I CHOOSE TO ADVOCATE FOR A CHILD WHO LIVES CLOSE TO MY HOME, SO I DON’T HAVE TO TRAVEL TOO FAR?
Probably not. Although we will try to match you with a child in your area, there are foster homes throughout the county, and children in foster care are sometimes moved from home to home. Your CASA child may not remain in the home she/he was in when you first met.
HOW IS CASA FUNDED?
CASA relies on our community to support child advocacy. CASA’s funding comes from private donors, including individuals, foundations, businesses, service clubs, and faith-based organizations. We also receive contributions from federal and state government. On a national level, CASA has saved taxpayers over $6 million in foster care services and provided the labor equivalent of over $200 million in volunteer service hours. All donations to our CASA program remain in Siskiyou County to support local children and local volunteers who work hard to realize our goal of every child in Siskiyou County having a safe, loving, and permanent home. Please click here to see ways you can give.
HOW EFFECTIVE ARE CASA PROGRAMS?
Preliminary findings show that children who have been assigned CASA volunteers tend to spend less time in court and less time in the foster care system than those who do not have CASA representation. Judges have observed that CASA advocated children also have better chances of finding permanent homes.
HOW DO I GET MORE INFORMATION ABOUT BECOMING A CASA VOLUNTEER?
For more information please contact the CASA of Siskiyou County office at (530) 841-0844. You can also download an application here. To learn more about the National CASA Association, visit www.casaforchildren.org