What Is CASA?
CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates. The CASA of the Permian Basin Area, Inc. is a local, non-profit organization. The CASA Advocate is a volunteer who is appointed by the Judge to represent the best interest of a child(ren) in the foster care system. Each CASA Advocate has an Advocacy Coordinator, or a CASA employee, there to help the volunteer Advocate and to be another contact person for CASA.
What Do CASA Advocates Do?
CASA Advocates are responsible for taking the time to find out as much as possible about the child(ren). They form trusting relationships with the children they work with and always speak for the child(ren)’s best interest. The Advocate visits the child(ren) in their placement, talks to the child(ren)’s parents and relatives, and they talk to the child(ren)’s caregivers, teachers, doctors, caseworkers or anyone else who has information about the child(ren). The CASA Advocate will be at each court hearing and will give a recommendation to the Judge about what they believe is in the best interest for the child(ren) and what the child(ren) needs.
What Does It Take to be a CASA?
Potential Advocates must be 21-years of age, or older, must pass a CPS background check, a state and federal background check and have their Social Security number verified. CASA Advocates attend a 30-hour training session, spaced out over two weeks. CASA Advocates trainees also observe 4 hours of court to gain an understanding for the court system. CASA Advocates are required to complete 12-hours of Continuing Education throughout the year. Finally, a CASA Advocate is expected to remain with the child(ren)’s CPS case throughout the duration of the case; some cases can finish within a year’s time, while others last longer.
How Much Time Does It Take to be a CASA?
Each CPS case is different; some cases may only have one child, while another case may have 5 children. A good general estimate of time spent on a case per week is 1 to 2 hours per child. A CASA Advocate will visit the child(ren) in their placement, talk to the child(ren)’s parents and relatives, talk to the child(ren)’s caregivers, teachers, doctors, therapist, caseworkers or anyone else who has information about the child(ren). They might also visit the child(ren)’s school, or email the child(ren’s) teachers, and attend meetings about the child(ren) at the school or at CPS. CASA Advocates also get to review records about the child(ren’s) from schools and doctors and from CPS.