What is a CASA?
CASA volunteers (Court Appointed Special Advocates) provide a powerful voice in court for abused and neglected children. They investigate, examine, and recommend to the Juvenile Judge the best option for a safe and permanent home for the children assigned to them. Click this link to CASA of Lane County's videos that describe two volunteers' experiences with being a CASA and their motivators for becoming a CASA.
What exactly does a CASA do or not do?
CASAs visit with the children on their case a minimum of once per month and work to build a trusting relationship with them. However, much of their time on a case is spent interviewing adults, including teachers, foster parents, attorneys, caseworkers, counselors, parents, medical professionals, and family members to determine the facts and circumstances of the child's situation. CASAs also attend all court hearings and meetings regarding their case and submit a written report of their findings and recommendations to the Juvenile Judge prior to court hearings. While CASAs often help identify unmet needs of the children or families in their case and recommend community resources that could address those needs, CASAs do not provide direct services or transportation to the children or families in their case.
What is the time commitment of a CASA?
Depending on the stage of the life cycle of a case, a CASA will typically spend between 5 and 15 hours a month working their case. Generally, earlier in the case there are more frequent court hearings and a CASA will invest more time becoming familiar with the child and their circumstances. As the case progresses, a CASA will likely spend less time learning the background information and invest their time maintaining a relationship with the child and identifying any changes to their needs and circumstances. The scheduling of your activities is flexible and Grant-Harney County CASA staff can help fill in if you are out of town during a particular meeting or hearing. For the sake of the children, we request CASAs commit to the entire life of their case, on average 18 months to two years. For a picture of what it looks like to serve as a CASA check out the "A Month in the Life of a CASA" blog post by CASA of Travis County, Texas.
How many children does one CASA serve?
Most CASAs serve one case at a time and will generally serve all of the children in the involved sibling set, on average two to three children. CASAs with more time to commit to the program may take on an additional case.
Who can become a CASA?
People just like you! CASAs are people from all walks of life, full- or part-time employed, retired or semi-retired, stay-at-home parents, college-aged students. No special experience or knowledge is needed. A typical CASA volunteer: passionately cares about the health and welfare of children; appreciates a high quality of life in their community; believes that abuse has no place in the home; and understands that children who witness or experience abuse are forever affected.
What support do CASAs receive?
CASAs receive a minimum of 40 hours of pre-service training to ensure they are familiar with the role of CASA and different professionals involved in the case, the process of juvenile dependency cases, and best practices for fulfilling the duties of a CASA. Throughout the life of their case, CASAs are given ongoing support from Grant-Harney County CASA staff and other volunteers. Additionally, CASAs are provided various opportunities to continue learning and are expected to complete 12 hours of continuing education each year.
How do I become a CASA?
Contact our office for a volunteer application:
835 S. Canyon Blvd, John Day
Turn in a completed application and schedule an in-person interview.*
Complete 30+ hours of pre-service training.
Raise your right hand to be sworn in by the judge as a CASA.
*Please note that you must pass a background check.
Are there other ways to support GHCASA if I can't commit to becoming a CASA?
If the commitment of becoming a CASA doesn't work in your life right now, or being a CASA isn't the right fit for another reason, there are other important ways you can support the work of Grant-Harney County CASA. We are in need of on-going administrative volunteers and we host fundraisers and other events that rely on short-term event volunteers. Please contact our office if you are interested in either of these ways to volunteer.
Additionally, we rely on the financial support of individuals and businesses within the communities we serve. If you have the means to make a tax-deductible financial contribution to Grant-Harney County CASA, please access our donate page from the menu above, or contact our office to discuss becoming an event sponsor, giving in-kind donations, or other means of financially supporting our mission.