Become a CASA Volunteer
A Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) is a specially trained community volunteer who is appointed by a Family Court Judge to provide consistent and caring support on behalf of an innocent child going through the family court system due to abuse and/or neglect by parent(s) or guardian(s). If you would like to be a CASA volunteer and feel that you have what it takes to change the life of an abused and neglected child, then please submit an application by clicking on the button below or to receive an application, please call the CASA office at 724-850-6874 and we will email you the form.
After CASA of Westmoreland, Inc. has received your completed application form you will receive a phone call or email requesting an initial interview. At this interview you will be asked to provide information for the background checks.
Pre-Service Training Options:
As a result of the pandemic we have adapted new ways to train advocates to support the foster children of our county. To best serve new potential advocates we will offer two different options for training. First, a Zoom version of our 2 night a week in-person training scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Secondly, an option for potential advocates to have goal dates set to complete their own coursework independently if they cannot attend the scheduled class and debrief individually at a later time. Here are descriptions of the training options we are currently offering:
Modality 1: Scheduled Zoom Trainings
This modality will cover the material as it has done traditionally in-person. Participants in this modality will be expected to attend each zoom session to learn the material and debrief. The same rules would apply to missing these sessions as they would an in-person training. Zooms will be Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm. Each evening session will include the chapter materials, assignments/activities, questions and debriefing.
Modality 2: Hybrid/Self-Paced with Goals
This modality will allow the participant to review the material at their own pace and schedule an individual debrief via phone or zoom and allow them the flexibility of partaking in the scheduled weekly zoom trainings if they can. This way they will have goal dates to be on pace for the same training as the scheduled zoom cohort.
The Role of a CASA volunteer
- To establish a relationship of trust with the child and to speak for the child in the courtroom, representing the child’s best interests.
- To serve as a fact-finder on the child’s case
- To continue to advocate for the child and serve as the “eyes and ears” of the court for as long as the case remains active with the Family Court.
After you have completed all necessary training, you will be assigned an abuse/neglect case (referred by a Family Court judge) which has been screened by the CASA office. The job of a CASA volunteer is to review the case to become familiar with the background, gather new information about the child(ren) and family, and then develop written reports for the court.
The CASA volunteer
- Completes an intensive, independent review of each case
- Reports findings to the court (through written reports, attending court hearings, participating in case conferences, etc.)
- Ensures representation of the child’s best interest
- Willing to commit for the life of a CASA case (can be longer than a year)
- Able to interview a variety of sources and remain objective in your recommendations
- Effectively communicate both orally and written
- Willing to go through an in-depth training class
- Pass criminal and child abuse background checks
- Age 21 and older
I would like to be a CASA, but I don’t have enough time…
Not everyone has the time or flexibility needed to make a long-term commitment to a child by becoming a CASA. If you would like to help CASA, but don’t feel you have a schedule flexible enough to volunteer as a child advocate; there are other ways to get involved. If you are interested in assisting CASA in other ways, please contact the CASA office.
Do you know someone that would make a good advocate? Fill out the form below with their information and we will contact them to see if they would like to become a volunteer.