Your Step by Step Guide to Becoming a CASA
One of the most common questions we encounter from community members is “What background or previous training do you need to be a CASA?” As our Executive Director Arika Orozco noted in our latest blog post, you don’t need to fit into a certain “mold” to make a difference in the life of a child. Our specialized volunteer training will provide you with everything you need to become a successful CASA.
With our next volunteer training coming up this week, we thought we’d break down the steps involved in becoming a CASA!
The Application Process
1. The first step in becoming a CASA volunteer is completing the volunteer application. The application takes about 30 minutes to complete and gives us some basic information about you.
2. Next you’ll submit the Child Protective Register Form to ensure that you have no record of abuse or neglect of a child that occurred in D.C. You’ll also submit an electronic copy of your resume, 3 references, and your driver’s license, along with your insurance (if you drive).
3. And lastly, you’ll come to our office for your in-person interview! Don’t panic! The interview is just a way for us to get to know you better. Having an ability to make the time commitment, an interest in child welfare, open-mindedness and humility are just a few of the things that Justin Fogata, Volunteer Coordinator, looks for in potential CASAs. Because of the self-reflective nature of the training, Justin suggests that critical self- awareness can be a helpful trait for volunteers. Justin notes, “At the end of the day, I’m looking for someone who has a spirit of service.” The interview is also a great time for us to learn about your personality so that we can match you better, so be yourself!
I’m In! I’ve made it to the training! What should I expect?
The 30-hour training process involves a combination of at-home coursework, a webinar and in-person trainings. Training focuses on the more technical aspects of the position like roles and responsibilities, the timeline of your relationship with your youth and how to draft a court report.
Trainees will also learn about the child welfare system in D.C., child development principles, culturally relevant practices and what to expect when working with abused and neglected children. Trainees will participate in role-play activities to prepare them for real world interactions with youth, social workers, guardians ad litems and other members of their team.
At the end of the training, new CASAs will be sworn in by a judge, at which point they are officially able to be matched with a youth in the foster care system!
What happens after training?
After training is complete, you will be matched with a youth in 60 – 90 days. CASAs will be assigned to a CASA Supervisor on staff , who will check in with you and your case efforts at least twice a month. CASA Supervisors coach CASAs on their case and develop goals to ensure we’re working towards the best interest of our youth. CASAs can also reach out to their CASA Supervisors at any time if they need additional support.
We keep CASAs up to date on continuing education (CASAs must attend 12-hours of continuing education per year), upcoming events and self-care activities through our bi-monthly newsletter. In addition to the activities you plan with your youth, CASA also holds periodic youth engagement events throughout the year for CASAs and youth.
Now that you know what the CASA volunteer process is, are you ready to get started? Visit our Volunteer Application page to take the first step in becoming a CASA today! We look forward to working with you!