Frequently Asked Questions
Below you will find some of the more popular questions that we are asked from time to time. If your question is not answered below or need more information, please feel free to email the office at office@ArkValleyCASA.org and we will be happy to answer any questions that you may have.
What is CASA?
CASA is an acronym that stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates.There are over 900 CASA programs nationwide, and in Colorado there are currently CASA programs in over half of the counties. Arkansas Valley CASA's mission is to advocate for abused and neglected children by providing a voice in the courts and in the community through trained volunteers.
What is a CASA Volunteer?
A CASA Volunteer is an ordinary individual from the community who is specially trained to advocate for children involved in the judicial system because of allegations of child abuse or neglect. No special or legal background is needed.
What are the requirements to become a CASA?
All CASA Volunteers must be over the age of 21 and cannot have any felony convictions. CASA Volunteers are screened closely by our agency and must pass all required background checks. A face-to-face interview is also conducted to ensure that this volunteer experience is right for the applicant.
Applicants must have a schedule that is flexible enough to attend court hearings and other meetings that may come up for the children that he/she is assigned to. Also, each CASA Volunteer must commit to a minimum of 12 months to be eligible to apply.
How much training is involved?
By state statute, each person wishing to become a CASA Volunteer must participate and successfully complete the CASA University classes. At Ark Valley CASA, we usually schedule these classes three times a year around February, June and October. This 37 hour training prepares the individual to effectively advocate for children as a CASA. Every CASA Volunteer must have a minimum of 12 hours of in-service training after this time to remain as an active CASA.
Is there an application fee?
The application, background check, and training manual costs our agency approximately $80 to $100 per volunteer. While we are currently able to cover a portion of the costs, we ask that applicants pay a one-time fee of $30 to help off set these costs. Scholarships are available.
CASA Volunteers are not reimbursed for any travel/millage or telephone costs, however, you may want to speak with your accountant once you become a CASA Volunteer to take advantage of any qualifying in-kind deductions.
How much time do I need to have?
Each case is very different, so it depends. Most of our volunteers spend between four and six hours per week on their assigned case. Sometimes, the case requires more time and at other times, it requires less. If you have a busy schedule but would like to volunteer, please contact one of our Case Supervisors to discuss your situation more specifically. Once you are approved to become a CASA Volunteer, we ask that you make at least a one year commitment to our agency since this is typically the time it takes for a case to be resolved. Many cases end much earlier and some extend beyond this time.
How many children will I be responsible for?
CASA Volunteers are only assigned one to two cases at a time, depending on their availability. The main idea is to keep our advocates focused on one case at a time, as opposed to spreading our advocacy thin by serving more children.
What kinds of cases will I work with?
CASA Volunteers are appointed to a variety of cases including neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse and cases where domestic violence or drugs and alcohol are issues. When you become a CASA Volunteer, we like to hear from you as to what cases you feel you would do the best with. This is more closely assessed during the training phase and with your assigned Case Supervisor.
What kind of support can I expect?
Staff at the CASA office are here to help and support our CASA Volunteers. Each volunteer is assigned to a Case Supervisor, who accompanies them to court and other appointments as needed in order to support, guide, and mentor the volunteer. The more comfortable the volunteer feels about the case and family, the more autonomy the volunteer has with the case.