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November 18, 2011

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Become a CASA Volunteer

CASA volunteers spend time mentoring and supporting foster children who move through multiple foster homes and court hearings. They do not foster the child, but instead are appointed by a judge to be a stable presence in a child's life until all court decisions in his/her parents' case are closed.

CASA Volunteers

Advocate for the abused and neglected children to
ensure that their needs do not go unheard.

There are many wonderful opportunities for people who are interested in adoption during the month of November. This is an amazing time to research and volunteer on behalf of the children. One particular organization is working diligently to make sure that every child who is not adopted yet but is in the foster care system has an advocate. This organization is called Court Appointed Special Advocates Association (CASA.)

CASA is a nationwide volunteer association that matches an adult advocate with a child in foster care to ensure that all of the bases for that child are covered. It appears to be an amazing volunteer opportunity for those of you who desire to help a child but fostering and adoption are not an option.

In order to be a CASA volunteer there are a few requirements:
1. Must be 21 years old.
2. Must pass a background check.
3. 30 hours of pre-service training.
4. Commit to stay with case until complete (average 1 ½ years.)
5. Be available for court appearances.
6. Be willing to commit about 10 hours a month.

A CASA volunteer gathers information pertaining to the child’s case, documents the information (submitted written to the court,) appears in the courtroom to advocate, connects all of the agencies and services that the child uses together, recommends services, monitors that all the services are be provided and keeps the court informed on any developments with the agency and family members (CASA website, www.casaforchildren.org)

You might be a little intimidated at the thought of going to court, dealing with a judge or walking through the maze of paperwork that surrounds many of these cases. CASA offers a support base that should alleviate many of your concerns. They have over 1000 active programs across the United States. They offer continuing education, access to online resources such as a large Facebook community, resource library and national conference and other help as requested.

When I was on their website I noticed they have started an online book club. The book, The Language of Flowers is what they are reading together and commenting on. It is about a young girl who is aging out of the system. It looks good. Anyone read it? I would love to hear your take. I am an avid book lover and always seek to expand my library. CASA is an amazing volunteer opportunity. Its focus and heart are for the children. If you have experience volunteering with CASA, we would love to hear about it. Feel free to post your story.

~Angie

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