Casa - Court Appointed Special Advocate
The CASA Program of La Porte County speaks up for children who have been abused or neglected by empowering our community to volunteer as advocates for them in the court system.
Imagine the experience of children who are removed from their homes because the people responsible for protecting them have not. These children find themselves in a world filled with social workers, lawyers, judges and courtrooms where life-altering decisions are made on their behalf.
A CASA volunteer is a court appointed, trained and committed adult who ensures that each child's individual needs remain a priority in an over-burdened child welfare system. They get to know the child while also gathering information from the child's family, teachers, doctors, care-givers and anyone else involved in the child's life in order to make independent and informed recommendations to help the judge decide what's best for the child. CASA volunteers come from every walk of life and share a commitment to improving children's lives, a willingness to learn, and an open mind towards life experiences different from their own.
For children who've been abused or neglected, CASA means having a home instead of feeling lost, and being a priority instead of feeling invisible. For volunteers, CASA is a life-changing experience that makes our community a better place.
If you are looking for a meaningful and enriching volunteer opportunity and want to do something about child abuse, CASA is right for you. We hope you decide to join our community of volunteers.
Role of a CASA Volunteer
CASA Volunteers are special individuals. They devote themselves to speaking for children who have become victims at the hands of adults. They have been thrown into the intimidating world of the Juvenile Court System, advocating for the rights of children while keeping their best interest at the forefront of the process. As a CASA you will not only insure that the child receives all the services they need, but you will become a safe and trustworthy adult for the child to depend on. You will insure that there is a plan for the future of the child and that they remains safe and protected. It is an awesome responsibility and a rewarding experience. CASAs make an important impact on a child. In some instances, the CASA will be the first adult willing to advocate for them in a world they do not understand.
We at CASA understand that this is a great responsibility. That is why we provide all of our volunteers with comprehensive training, complete with mock cases and court hearings. Should you have any questions about your role or how to achieve the best outcome as a CASA, our many combined years of experience paired with a full-time staff - CASA case manager, will offer assistance during your entire process. It is our goal to provide you with all the tools needed to succeed in your role as a volunteer and for the child. No legal expertise is required.
The Need for Volunteers
Every child deserves a safe and permanent home with a "forever family". In La Porte and Pulaski County the need is great. Do you have time to volunteer? Are you ready to speak up for a child? Children in La Porte and Pulaski County are waiting now for a child advocate to ensure their right to a safe and permanent home. The CASA volunteer plays an important role in the life of a foster child. A CASA is the voice of the child, an unbiased voice for the child's best interests. The CASA takes the time to learn and understand what each child needs by visiting with the child at least once a month. They then make recommendations to the judge in the best interest of the child.
How Children Benefit
CASA Volunteers are the Voice of the Child. In addition to advocating for a child's best interests, CASA volunteers are the voice of the child in court.
CASA Volunteers are an Essential Presence. A CASA is an essential presence that reminds everyone involved that at the heart of each case is a child who deserves a safe and loving place to call home.
CASA is an Evidence- and Research-based Program. A child with a CASA spends less time in foster care, receives more appropriate services, is more likely to have increased self esteem and increased achievement, and has more success in school.
How much time does it take to be a CASA volunteer?
All volunteers must complete a 30-hour pre-service training. The time commitment to a case varies depending upon the stage of the case. Volunteers sometimes say that there is a greater amount of work in the beginning of the case, when they are conducting their initial research. On average, you can expect to spend approximately 10 hours a month on a case. As a CASA you will work with judges, attorneys, social workers and other professionals in the field. To insure the continued education of our volunteers we offer in-service training on many subjects throughout the year.
Do you need to make a long-term commitment to the program?
You are asked to dedicated yourself to a case until it is closed. The average case lasts about a year and a half. Most CASA programs required that a volunteer commit to serve for a least one year.
Do I need to have any special skills or meet any requirements?
No special background or education is required to become a CASA volunteer. We encourage people from all cultures and professions, and of all ethnic and educational backgrounds. Once accepted into the program, you will receive all necessary training in courtroom procedures, social services, the juvenile justice system and the special needs of abused and neglected children.
Volunteer today and make a lifelong difference for a child!
APPLICANTS MUST BE A MINIMUM OF 21 YEARS OF AGE
Interested in volunteering? Contact us at:
Harmony House/CASA Program of La Porte County, Inc.
1005 Michigan Avenue
La Porte, IN 46350
Call: 219.324.3385 or fax 219.362.9114 for assistance.