What it means to be a CASA
CASA of Philadelphia Volunteers listen first, then act. They use the information gathered to inform judges of the child’s needs, best interests and wishes. A volunteer does not have to be a lawyer or social worker but does need to meet certain requirements. A volunteer can also choose to become both a CASA and EDM volunteer. To see the specifics of each volunteer role, explore the different links below. Once, accepted into the program, a volunteer will receive all the necessary training in courtroom procedures, social services, the juvenile justice system and the special needs of abused and neglected children. At CASA of Philadelphia, we work together!
We encourage people from all cultures, professions and educational backgrounds to join! No special background or education is required to become a CASA volunteer, though it helps to have a background in education or a special interest in education if you would like to become an EDM volunteer. A volunteer must:
- Be 21+ years old.
- Complete extensive screening prior to case assignment.
- Attend an information session and then complete an online application.
- Be willing to complete necessary background check, provide references and participate in an interview.
- Complete the required 30 hours of pre-service training. EDM training is included in the pre-service training curriculum.
- Be sworn in as an “officer of the court” -taking an oath to focus on the best interests of their assigned child and to maintain strict confidentiality.
- Work with only one child or sibling group at a time.
- Devote time and energy to assist judges and child welfare professionals with safety and permanency planning for a child.
- Be available for court appearances, with advance notice.
- Have access to a computer and basic computer ability. Volunteers commit to maintaining all case notes and documents in CASA’s Optima case management system.
- Collaborate with a CASA supervisor throughout their assignment, keeping them informed of their advocacy efforts as they speak on behalf of the needs, best interests and wishes of children in court.
- CASA of Philadelphia is an Equal Opportunity Employer and Volunteer organization. CASA does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, non-disqualifying physical or mental disability, national origin, veteran status or any other basis covered by appropriate law. All employment and volunteerism is decided on the basis of qualifications, merit, and organizational need.
A volunteer is asked to dedicate themselves to a child until their case is closed with the court. The average case lasts about 2 years. However, we understand that sometimes life gets complicated and will work with each volunteer to accommodate his/her scheduling needs.
Support for the Volunteers
They say it takes a village to raise a child. Becoming a CASA means becoming part of our village of support for abused and neglected children in Philadelphia. Volunteers are paired with professional social workers who support them every step of the way. We provide ongoing training as well as opportunities to gather with other volunteers to share ideas and offer support. CASA also maintains strong working relationships with other Philadelphia area non-profits who support foster children and with whom we collaborate in particularly complicated cases.
How to Become A Volunteer
The first step in becoming a volunteer is to attend an information session. Once you have attended an information session, we will invite you to complete an application. Upon submission, we will contact you to schedule an interview. During the interview, you will be asked to elaborate on some of your answers, as well as your autobiography. You will also be asked for consent to complete a criminal background check.