Nobody longs for a safe and loving family more than a child who has been removed from his home due to abuse or neglect and placed in foster care. As a Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer, you are empowered to help make this dream a reality. You will not only bring positive change to the lives of these vulnerable children, but also their children and generations to come. And in doing so, you will enrich your life as well.

Newport News CASA is a non-profit organization of volunteers who are voices for abused and neglected children. The courts appoint CASA volunteers to gather information and make recommendations to help judges decide what is best for each child.

Volunteers get to know the child by talking with everyone in that child’s life: parents and relatives, foster parents, teachers, medical professionals, attorneys, social workers and others. They use the information they gather to inform judges and others of what the child needs and what will be the best permanent home for them.

The CASA program is a proven, reliable and economic model of support that has meant the difference between success and failure in thousands of children.  Many more children would thrive if they had the intensive intervention of a CASA volunteer.

It’s also worth noting that approximately 50% of the children in need are boys, so we have a special need for more men to stand up and be counted as everyday heroes and role models in the lives of these future men.

CASA volunteers are a source of hope and support for child victims as they navigate the courts and foster care system. Advocates help children access the services they need to heal from their abuse, and the information and recommendations CASA volunteers provide help to expedite the court process and provide better outcomes for children under the state’s protection. For many abused children, CASA is the only constant during a frightening, uncertain time. A CASA volunteer can make an immediate and critical impact on the life of a child.
CASA volunteers undergo 30 hours of initial training and 12 hours of continuing education each year. Each volunteer advocate works with a CASA peer coach and staff supervisor who provides guidance throughout the court process.
Yes! Judges depend on CASA volunteers to help keep them better informed about each child’s case. They want CASA volunteers on every case in their courts, but currently, CASA is currently serving approximately 60% of the children who need CASA volunteers. There is a child waiting for your help.
You do not have to be a lawyer or a social worker to be a volunteer.  We welcome people from all walks of life. As a volunteer, you will be thoroughly trained and well supported to help you through each case. Volunteers must be 21 or older, undergo a background check and take part in a personal interview. Volunteer advocates are patient, open-minded people who have good communication skills, a history of following through on commitments and a willingness to accept guidance. Above all, they care about children.
It will generally range from 3-5 hours per week. Most of this time can be spent in evenings or on weekends, but there are approximately eight to ten court hearings per year, as well as phone calls and occasional meetings during working hours.  To share the volunteer responsibilities, some volunteers partner with a friend, a spouse or other relative who also is a volunteer advocate. Learn more about the commitment of becoming a Court Appointed Special Advocate Volunteer.
  • Gather Information/Investigate: Review documents and records, interview the children, family members and professionals in their lives.
  • Document Findings: Provide written reports at court hearings.
  • Appear In Court: Advocate for the child’s best interests and provide testimony when necessary.
  • Explain What Is Going On: Help the child understand the court proceedings.
  • “Be The Glue”: Seek cooperative solutions among individuals and organizations involved in the children’s lives. As one volunteer said: Be the glue that connects the pieces in a complicated child welfare system.
  • Recommend Services: Ensure that the children and their family are receiving appropriate services and advocate for those that are not immediately available. Bring concerns about the child’s health, education, mental health, etc. to the appropriate professionals.
  • Monitor Case Plans And Court Orders: Check to see that plans are being followed and mandated review hearings are being held.
  • Keep The Court Informed: Update the court on developments with agencies and family members. Ensure that appropriate motions are filed on behalf of the child so the court knows about any changes in the child’s situation.

Requirements:

  • 21 years old
  • High School Diploma
  • No felony convictions/submit to a background check

Training:

  • Complete 34hours of initial training including 4 hours of court observation
  • Complete 12 hours annual in-service training

Qualifications:

  • Maintain confidentiality of all client and court information
  • Ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing
  • Ability to respect and relate to people from various backgrounds
  • Desire to advocate for a child and be his/her volunteer voice in court

Commitment:

  • Be available for 3-5 hours a week to dedicate to CASA work
  • Commit to the length of a case (average 12-18 months).

CASA does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religious preference, gender, gender expression, disability, sexual preference, or veteran status. Unfortunately, not every applicant is accepted for our volunteer positions. CASA reserves the right to deny a volunteer position to any applicant without explanation.