What is the role of a CASA volunteer?
CASAs (Court Appointed Special Advocates) are trained community volunteers appointed by judges to provide information and make recommendations to the court about what is in the best interests of children who have been removed from their homes due to neglect or abuse.
CASAs are objective community volunteers, who are not part of the child welfare system, who focus their efforts solely on providing a voice for the child and making recommendations in regards to services, placement, visitation, reunification, and permanency. CASA volunteers monitor the child's situation while they are in foster care to make sure they are safe and to ensure their psychological, physical, educational, and other needs are met, with the ultimate goal of finding them a safe, stable, and permanent home.
What are the requirements for becoming a CASA?
The National CASA Association requires that CASA volunteers must…
- Be at least 21 years old
- Be willing to complete necessary background checks, provide references, and participate in an interview prior to being accepted into the program
- Complete a minimum of 30 hours of training before accepting their first case
- Be available for court appearances, with advance notice
- Be willing to commit to the CASA program until your first case is closed (a year and a half, on average)
Who is qualified to be a CASA?
There are no educational or previous employment requirements for becoming a CASA volunteer. People from all cultures and professions, and of all ethnic and educational backgrounds, are welcome and encouraged to volunteer. Once accepted into the program, you will receive thorough training in courtroom procedures, social services, the juvenile justice system, and the special needs of abused and neglected children.
Once training is completed, volunteers continue to have the support of their local CASA program staff, as well as opportunities for continued education and resources provided by the Kentucky CASA Network and the National CASA Association.
What duties must be performed by CASAs?
CASAs typically take on one or two cases at a time. To ensure they are acting in the child’s best interest and working towards their goal of finding a safe and permanent home, CASA volunteers must…
- Visit the child regularly
- Interview relevant parties (teachers, doctors, family members, etc.)
- Monitor the child’s home environment
- Research their case and review court records
- File reports
- Participate in treatment planning conferences
- Identify and advocate for services for the child
- Attend court hearings (this may include providing a testimony when necessary)
- Help ensure that the Court’s Orders are being followed
- Help the child understand the court proceedings and decisions
- Stay engaged until the child is in a safe, permanent home
Volunteer with Your Local CASA Program
Anderson, Boyle, Franklin, and Mercer Counties
CASA of the Bluegrass
Contact: Laura Guerrant, Executive Director
Barren, Butler, Edmonson, Hart, Metcalfe, and Warren Counties
CASA of South Central KY
Contact: Diane Eidson, Advocate Coordinator
Boone and Gallatin Counties
Boone County CASA
Contact: Colleen Maier, Executive Director
Bourbon, Fayette, and Woodford Counties
CASA of Lexington
Contact: Jenifer Bahr, Program Manager
Boyd and Carter Counties
CASA of Northeast KY, Inc.
Bracken, Fleming, and Mason Counties
CASA Program for Bracken, Fleming & Mason Counties, Inc.
Contact: Shanda Hamilton, Executive Director
Breckinridge, Grayson, and Meade Counties
Tri-County CASA, Inc.
Contact: Angela Buckles, Volunteer Coordinator
CASA Program for Bullitt County
Contact: Dana Elkins, Volunteer Coordinator
Calloway and Marshall Counties
CASA by the Lakes
Contact: Angelia Boyd, Executive Director
Campbell, Kenton, and Pendleton Counties
CASA For Kids serving Kenton, Campbell & Pendleton Counties, Inc.
Contact: Nicky Jeffries, Executive Director
Carlisle, Graves, and Hickman Counties
Graves County CASA
Contact: Kelly Cox, Volunteer Coordinator
CASA Program of Christian County, KY Inc.
Contact: Virginia Erxleben, Executive Director
Crittenden, Hopkins, and Webster Counties
CASA Program of Hopkins, Webster and Crittenden Counties, Inc.
Contact: Daphyne Maddox, Executive Director
Daviess and Ohio Counties
CASA of Ohio Valley
Contact: Rosemary Conder, Executive Director
Floyd and Pike Counties
CASA of Eastern Kentucky
Contact: Shawna Kelly, Program Director
CASA of the Heartland
Contact: Debra Smith, Executive Director
Henderson and Union Counties
CASA of Henderson and Union Counties
Contact: Michaela DeHaven, Program Director
Henry, Jefferson, Oldham, Shelby, Spencer, and Trimble Counties
CASA of the River Region
Contact: Shari Christoff, Advocacy Director
Knox and Laurel Counties
CASA of Knox and Laurel Counties, Inc.
Contact: Debra Hauser, Executive Director
Madison County CASA
Contact: Victoria Benge, Executive Director
CASA Project of McCracken County
Contact: Liz Hansen, Volunteer Coordinator
CASA of Nelson County
Contact: Kate Mudd, Executive Director