BECOME A VOLUNTEER
Within the imagination of a child, there are some things that have no place at all. Things like abuse, neglect and despair. Every day, more than one thousand children are removed from their homes. These are victims who now belong to no one. They sit, silently waiting for the courts to decide their futures. They need your voice. Volunteer as a Court Appointed Special Advocate and change one life at a time.
What is a CASA volunteer?
An Erie County Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer is a trained citizen who is appointed by a judge to speak on behalf of abused and neglected children in the Erie County Court of Common Pleas.
Can anyone be a CASA Volunteer?
CASA volunteers are ordinary citizens. No special or legal background is required. Act 33/34 clearances are required. Volunteers are screened closely for objectivity, competence and commitment. Minimum age of a CASA volunteer is 21.
What training does a CASA Volunteer receive?
CASA volunteers undergo an initial 30 hour training course conducted by Erie County CASA. Volunteers learn about Erie County courtroom procedure from the principals in the system-from judges, lawyers, social workers, court personnel, and others. CASA volunteers also learn effective advocacy techniques for children, and are educated about all aspects of child abuse and neglect.
What is the CASA Volunteer’s role?
A CASA volunteer provides the Juvenile Court Judge with a carefully researched background of the child to help the Courts render a decision regarding the child’s future. The CASA volunteer helps to determine if it is in a child’s best interest to return to his or her parents or guardians, be freed for adoption, or live with a relative. The CASA volunteer makes a recommendation on placement to the judge, and continues to advocate for his/her CASA child until permanency is established and the Court Docket is closed.
As a child advocate, the CASA volunteer has three main responsibilities:
- to report the facts to the Juvenile Court Judge.
- to establish a relationship of trust with the child and to speak for the child in the Court of Common Pleas by providing information on what CASA believes to be in the child’s best interests. Any recommendations presented to the Court of Common Pleas, must be supported by
- to continue to act as an advocate for the child during the life of the case, ensuring that it is brought to a swift and appropriate conclusion.
Thinking of Becoming a Volunteer?
You can speak up for a Child as a CASA Volunteers. To become a volunteer:
- Contact Erie County CASA to become a volunteer.
- An interview, application and Act 33/34 clearances must be completed prior to being accepted into the training program.
- Successfully complete Erie County CASA Volunteer Training.
- Be sworn in as a Court Appointed Special Advocate by Erie County Court of Common Pleas.
- Begin helping a Child, one life at a time.
Become an Office Volunteer
There are numerous ways to help CASA. We have a continual need for office help, people who can volunteer a half day each week on a regular basis. In addition, we need people to help coordinate fund raising and other activities. To volunteer in the office, please contact us – provide your name and daytime phone number. We’ll be happy to hear from you.