A CASA volunteer is someone who mentors and advocates for an abused and neglected child who has been placed in foster care. During a period of uncertainty and change, a CASA volunteer is a consistent and caring adult. Becoming a CASA volunteer is a high-impact role and will likely be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life, full of surprises, challenges, and self-discovery.
WHAT DO CASA VOLUNTEERS DO?
CASA volunteers are appointed by judges to watch over and advocate for abused and neglected children, to make sure they don’t get lost in the overburdened legal and social service system or languish in inappropriate group or foster homes. CASA volunteers devote their attention to one child, spending time with them weekly, closely monitoring their situation and ensuring their needs are met. CASA volunteers provide companionship and consistency, while getting to know the child and encouraging special interests. Volunteers remain with their child until the case is closed and the child is placed in a safe, permanent home. For many foster children, their CASA volunteer will be the one constant adult presence in their lives - the one person who is not paid to oversee their welfare.
WHO ARE CASA VOLUNTEERS?
To be a Casa volunteer, you do not have to be a lawyer or a social worker with extensive knowledge of the child welfare system to be a volunteer. Our CASA volunteers come from all walks of life and are everyday citizens who care about children. The personal connection to a foster child is life changing for many of our volunteers. CASA of San Mateo County screens and trains all of its Volunteers who must be at least 21 years of age.
WHAT IS THE COMMITMENT?
Too many people come in and out of these children’s lives. We ask that our CASA volunteers be committed to the child and follow the child’s case until successful closure, if possible. At a minimum, we expect the CASA volunteer to remain with a child for 18 months unless the case closes before that time. Volunteers are asked to visit their children weekly. On average, CASA volunteers spend 10 hours a month with or on behalf of their foster child.
HOW TO BECOME A CASA VOLUNTEER:
- The first step to becoming a CASA volunteer is to attend an Orientation, which you can register for using our online form.
- After Orientation, you complete an application and schedule a screening interview with a CASA staff member. If after the interview we determine a mutual fit, you will be invited to begin training.
- During training, you will receive a comprehensive overview of the Child Welfare System and learn how to be a successful advocate for a foster child. You must attend each session as well as observe one afternoon in Juvenile Court.
- Training is held in our offices, from 6-9pm, two nights a week over a five week period.
- After training, you are sworn in as an Officer of the Court.