What is a CASA volunteer?
A Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer is a trained citizen who is appointed by a judge to represent the best interests of a child in court. In the 5th Judicial Circuit Court of Missouri (Buchanan and Andrew counties) these children are victims of abuse and/or neglect.
What is the role of a CASA volunteer?
A CASA volunteer provides a judge with carefully researched background details about the child to help the court make a sound decision about that child's future. Each home placement case is as unique as the child involved. The CASA volunteer must determine if the best interest of the child is staying with their parents or guardians, being placed in foster care, or being freed for permanent adoption. The CASA volunteer makes a recommendation on placement to the judge and follows through on the case until it is permanently resolved.
Is there a "typical" CASA volunteer?
CASA volunteers come from all walks of life and possess a variety of professional, educational and ethnic backgrounds. There are more than 77,000 CASA volunteers nationally. Locally, we currently have 31 volunteers who serve children in both Andrew and Buchanan counties.
How do CASA volunteers investigate a case?
To prepare a recommendation, the CASA volunteer talks with the child, parents, family members, social workers, school officials, health providers and others who are knowledgeable about the child's history. The CASA volunteer also reviews all records pertaining to the child-school, medical, case worker reports and other documents.
How much time is required to volunteer?
Each case is different. A CASA volunteer can spead several hours doing research and conducting interviews prior to the first court appearance. More complicated cases take longer. Once initiated into the system, volunteers work on average 8 hours per month on a case depending on the complicity.
How long does a CASA volunteer remain involved?
The volunteer continues until the case is permanently resolved. One of the primary benefits of the CASA program is that, unlike other court principals who often rotate cases, the CASA volunteer is a consistent figure in the proceedings and provides continuity for a child.
Please call us at: (816) 901-1708 or fill out our contact form.
5th Circuit CASA of Missouri
411 Jules, B-3
Saint Joseph, MO 64501
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