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Volunteer

Volunteer and Be a CASA-EP Hero!

CASA of the Eastern Panhandle offers a variety of opportunities for volunteering. Please check out a few of the options below for more information. If you have any questions, please contact us.

Watch this video, then learn about the three ways YOU can volunteer to HELP the children of Child Abuse and Neglect Cases within the Eastern Panhandle.

Click on the Titles to see the different volunteer opportunities

Introduction
A Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) is a trained volunteer appointed by a Judge to advocate for the best interests of children who are removed from the home because of abuse and/or neglect.

The CASA volunteer is an official part of the judicial proceedings, working alongside attorneys and social workers. By handling only one or two cases at a time, the CASA volunteer is able to thoroughly explore the history of each assigned case. They talk with the child(ren), parents, family members, neighbors, school officials, counselors, doctors, and anyone else significantly involved in the child’s life that might have facts about the case. They review all court documents pertaining to the case, and then prepare and submit a formal report to the Judge at the scheduled hearing or case review. They continue to monitor the case to assure that the judicial and child welfare systems are moving ahead to secure a safe, permanent home for the child, and that court-ordered services are provided to the child and family. The CASA volunteer is an invaluable resource for the child, the attorney, and the social worker in reaching the goal of safe and permanent placement for the child. CASA is an Equal Opportunity Employer and will provide equal volunteer opportunities in all aspects of its operations. CASA does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, pregnancy, or any other legally protected status.

Program Goals and Objectives

  • To independently gather and assess factual information regarding abused and neglected children;
  • To provide advocacy for abused and neglected children who are the subject of judicial proceedings;
  • To insure representation of the child’s best interest in all judicial proceedings;
  • To monitor cases following a court hearing or decision until the terms of the court order have been fulfilled;
  • To objectively report findings and observations to the court;
  • To impel court and social services systems into prompt and informed action.

In each case, the CASA Volunteer conducts an intensive independent review that involves:

  • Speaking with the child and relevant adults;
  • Observing the child and significant others;
  • Reviewing appropriate records and reports;
  • Participating in case conferences and interagency meetings concerning the child;
  • Insuring representation of the child’s best interest;
  • Attending all court hearings to ensure that all relevant facts are presented;
  • Consulting regularly with the Volunteer Coordinator concerning the assigned case and developing a case plan and review progress and reports.
  • Providing a written report containing factual information to the court.

Required Skills and Abilities
The CASA volunteer must be 21 years of age, and be able to:

  • Maintain confidentiality regarding all client and court information;
  • Communicate effectively, both orally and in writing;
  • Respect and relate to people from various cultural, education, and socioeconomic backgrounds and in a variety of settings;
  • Deal with hostility, anger and other emotional attitudes;
  • Maintain objectivity;
  • Gather and record factual information accurately;
  • Transport self to a variety of locations.

Training and Service
CASA volunteers are required to attend approximately 30 hours of pre-service training, as well as 12 hours of in-service training annually while acting as an advocate. CASA of the Eastern Panhandle, Inc will provide free training to volunteers.

CASA volunteers will receive guidance and direct supervision from the Volunteer Coordinator, and will follow guidelines established by the West Virginia CASA Association and the National CASA Association.

Time Commitment
Volunteers are required to commit themselves to the program for one year, and are expected to be available for case assignment and accept cases unless other arrangements have been made. The time involved in each case will be dependent on the case. Visits with children are expected at a minimum of twice per month, with exceptions approved by Volunteer Coordinator.

Conclusion
The mission of CASA of the Eastern Panhandle, Inc., is to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children within the court system, and to secure a safe and permanent home for each child. The CASA volunteer is a caring adult who attempts to understand the child’s concerns and report them to the judge, and plays an integral part in assuring that children do not become lost in the court system. The CASA program is dedicated to the premise that all children are entitled to grow up in a safe and loving home, and achieves this through the work of its dedicated volunteers.

CASA-EP Advocate Support Team members are volunteers who are trained and sworn in, just like the lead advocate on a case; however, they are not assigned to a case. They provide much needed support, service, and encouragement to the Volunteer Advocates and office staff.
CASA-EP Alliance volunteers are community members who provide support by assisting with projects, office assistance, and special events. All we need is your e-mail address and future support when we contact you!

Download the 2014 CASA-EP Volunteer Application Here