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No one longs for a safe and loving family more than a child in foster care.

As a CASA volunteer, you are empowered by the courts to help make this dream a reality. You will be the one consistent adult in these children’s lives, vigilantly fighting for and protecting their fundamental right to be treated with the dignity and respect every child deserves.

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How do I become a volunteer advocate?

Please contact CASA of Mariposa by phone, in person, via email, via Facebook, or via this website! Complete an application process, participate in initial training and be sworn in by the Juvenile Court.

What is a CASA volunteer?

A CASA volunteer is a sworn officer of the court. A judge appoints a special advocate to help define the best interests of an abused or neglected child in juvenile court proceedings.

What does a CASA volunteer do?

A trained CASA volunteer gathers information for the court. He or she recommends to the judge what is in the child’s best interest for a permanent, safe and loving home. A CASA volunteer can be an important mentor in the life of a child. CASA volunteers work with children in different situations. In some cases, the child needs a new permanent home. Sometimes, the child remains with their family receiving support services or is temporarily removed from the home while the parents receive reunification support.

Why does a child need a CASA volunteer?

When the court is making decisions that will affect a child’s future, the child needs and deserves a spokesperson—an objective adult to provide independent information about the best interests of the child. While other parties in the case are concerned about the child, they also have other interests. The CASA volunteer is the only person in the case whose sole concern is the best interest of the child. CASA volunteers are usually assigned one case at a time, one CASA volunteer to each case, to provide a “voice in court.” A CASA volunteer gives individual attention to each case. An abused or neglected child has come from a world of chaos and instability. For the child, there is fear; fear of being hurt; fear of being alone and fear about the future. For children who are in out-of-home placements, there can be many changes in schools and homes before a decision is made on where the child should live. A CASA volunteer can be the sole source of stability and comfort to fill an enormous void in the child’s life. A CASA volunteer is a trusted, dependable adult who doesn’t go away and who gives the child hope for a better future.

What is the difference between the CASA and a Social Worker?

The CASA volunteer is independent from the social services system and focuses solely on the child. The CWS caseworker serves the family—parents and child—by providing direct services. CWS caseworkers are not able to be a wholly independent voice because they are part of the agency that has already taken a position in the case by filing a petition and bringing the matter to court. A CASA volunteer is an independent voice, not part of an agency that may be constrained by rules and regulations, agency policies and fiscal limitations.

Why do CASA programs cost money to run, when volunteers are not paid?

CASA programs hire staff to manage the program and supervise volunteers. Program costs include: salaries, office support, computers and equipment, travel and training. CASA program staff recruit, train, supervise and support volunteers to ensure quality services. National CASA has program standards that all CASA programs are required to meet.

How are CASA programs funded?

CASA programs are locally supported. The Judicial Council, fundraising events, annual giving and grants provide the ongoing support. National CASA has a grant system to help start up or expand programs. CASA programs depend on their communities to support the service.

Does the court listen to what a CASA has to say?

YES! Judges know their decisions are only as good as the information they receive. They count on CASA volunteers to be an independent voice and they know that CASA volunteers have more time to focus on specific cases. CASA itself was developed from the idea of a juvenile court judge in 1977.

How do we know CASA volunteers are effective?

Studies have shown CASA volunteers to be effective in reducing court costs, reducing stays in foster care and even in reducing rates of delinquency and truancy. A study conducted by the National CASA Association showed that children with a CASA volunteer spent approximately one year less in care than a child without a CASA volunteer. This represents a savings to taxpayers and it also means that a child finds a permanent, safe home more quickly.
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