What are some of the initial steps to becoming a Court Appointed Special Advocate? From the paperwork and interview to the pre-service training, learn how to become a much-needed voice for foster children.
Many love the idea of volunteering with children, which may lead to the decision to become a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). But how can people actually get started? Here are the initial steps for becoming a CASA volunteer.
1. Fill out a casa program online application.
The process for becoming a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) starts with filling out an online application. Potential volunteers will need to provide contact, residency and employment information and list any languages spoken in addition to English. CASA volunteers are a diverse group of adults with work experience in many different industries. Being able to use a computer, access to reliable transportation and having effective written and verbal communication skills are the only requirements for becoming a child advocate. No legal or child advocacy experience necessary. Applicants will also be asked to provide three nonfamilial references, so have their names, phone numbers and email addresses handy when filling out the application.
2. Consent to a background check.
The CASA program application also asks for personal identifiers —including height, weight and birthdate — and inquires about any criminal history. This information is necessary for conducting a background check and will not be shared with anyone outside of the application process. The background investigation conducted by CASA will include fingerprint and polygraph exam. The polygraph is simply a reconfirmation of the information provided in the CASA application — it’s no sweat.
3. Schedule an in-person interview.
Once applications have been reviewed, someone from CASA of Maricopa County will contact applicants about setting up an in-person interview. Interviews are generally conducted Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. During the interview, applicants will be asked about their personal background and interest in becoming a CASA volunteer. Potential volunteers will also have the opportunity to get their questions answered.
4. Attend advocacy training.
Training on how to be a Court Appointed Special Advocate is offered every month. As soon as the steps above are complete, applicants will be eligible to register for the two-day state office training and the 4-hour county training. The program will prepare volunteers to work independently as a CASA volunteer and will cover such topics as child psychology, the foster care system, working with the Department of Child Safety, juvenile court proceedings and the nuts and bolts of conducting CASA duties and using the computer system.
5. Get sworn in.
CASA volunteers work on behalf of the court, so after the successful completion of the background check and the different training components, you’ll be sworn in by a judge as an official Court Appointed Special Advocate.
6. Select a case — and get started!
Once sworn in, it’s time to get started on the first case. As a new volunteer, you will have the opportunity to select from three to five cases hand selected for you based on your interests by your CASA staff member. After reading through the case file and speaking with the assigned DCS case manager, CASAs will have their first visit with a CASA child where they’ll begin building a relationship and making a difference.
Before you know it, you could be well into this impactful program. Check out a CASA reflecting on her first year as an advocate.
Get Started Today!
Fill out the online Volunteer Certification Application to get started on your path to transforming a child’s life.