What Is An Advocate?
I became a CASA four years ago. Many of my friends had been in foster care when they were younger. They shared with me how wonderful it would have been if they had had a 'special' friend to help them get their needs met. They were not in a position at that time to help children who were currently in foster care, but I was." - CASA Advocate
If you are someone who cares, you could become a consistent support for a child in their time of crisis. Advocates work for the best interest of children who enter the court system primarily as a result of abuse and neglect. Advocates interview parents, teachers, social workers, and anyone else who might have insight into the needs, challenges and strengths of the child. Volunteers form a team with their case supervisor and supplement the role of other professionals involved in the case.
Being a CASA has been an amazing experience for me. I was able to build relationships with children that will last. I was able to be there consistently for children who didn't have anybody. I feel that I was able to find out what each child's needs and special skills were. I was able to see that those individual needs and skills were incorporated into each child's court approved plan." - CASA Advocate
Advocates have the unique ability to focus on the needs of one child at a time. Advocates visit with their CASA child on a regular basis and develop a relationship with the child. As officers of the court, volunteers provide the judge with written reports that directly impact the decisions made regarding the child's life. Most of all, they are a friend to the child.
Advocates come from all walks of life, with a variety of professional, educational and ethnic backgrounds. Volunteers are selected on the basis of their objectivity, competence and commitment. No special experience is required; CASA provides all of the necessary training. Many volunteers find their time as an advocate helps them gain experience, which serves them in other aspects of their lives.
I was able to put into practice what I believe is my place in the world; reaching out and helping other people in need. As I traveled along my path as a CASA, my personal, philosophical, emotional, and spiritual growth came together. Being a CASA gave me better training for a career working with adolescents than six years of college. - Advocate, 2002
By becoming an advocate you can:
- experience the wonderful feeling of making a difference in the world, especially in the world of a child
- gain life skills experience that enhances both your professional and personal perspectives
- contribute to your community as a whole by helping to end the cycles of abuse, poverty, homelessness, and crime that bring children and families into the child welfare system
- Be a powerful voice in a child's life