We are so excited you’re interested in becoming a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer. Below are some Frequently Asked Questions. Please contact us with any additional questions!
You will visit regularly with a child who has been placed into the protective custody of the child welfare system due to abuse or neglect and speak for their best interests. Kids Matter CASA volunteers make recommendations for the child through written court reports regarding matters such as their permanency, visitation with their siblings, or something seemingly small like a new pair of glasses or trip to the dentist. Unlike many of the professionals involved in a child’s life who have large caseloads, CASA volunteers are able to devote special attention to the best interests of the child. In this situation, a CASA volunteer like you can be a powerful addition to their world.
CASA volunteers act as the “eyes and ears” of the court and provide crucial advocacy for children. In an over-burdened system, a volunteer who is dedicated to gathering information is incredibly valuable. You can help the court determine what is in the best interest of a child when the answer is unclear. You help a child’s voice be heard.
Attorneys or foster parents may, on occasion, request a CASA volunteer. However, only a judge can assign a CASA volunteer to a case. Once a judge assigns a CASA volunteer, the team at Kids Matter works to assign a volunteer to a child. We work with you to find a good match.
Typically, CASA volunteers work with one family at a time which allows them to focus on the needs of one child or group of siblings. You may be assigned to a sibling group.
No, CASA volunteers come from all backgrounds and education levels. There is no education requirement other than completing our training.
Becoming a CASA volunteer has changed the lives of many of our former volunteers. We have volunteers who have decided to get a social work or law degree to further help children and families. Others find that the role of a CASA volunteer is so unique and powerful that they want to stay as volunteers.
Our training is a combination of live instruction, online self-guided study, and courtroom observation totaling 34 hours. Please refer to the CASA training page more information. During COVID-19, CASA training is all online.
You will be supervised by a CASA Program Manager who has experience and knowledge about the child welfare system. Program Managers help you prepare for court hearings and other meetings as well as accompany you when needed. Supervisors can also guide you toward resources for your CASA youth as well as answer any questions you may have. As a Kids Matter CASA volunteer, you will never be out there on your own. Our staff is here to support you in your life-changing work.
Kids Matter CASA volunteers have the opportunity to work with many adults in their youth’s life. This includes professionals like the child’s Guardian ad Litem (GAL) and Child Protection System (CPS) caseworkers, biological family members and close friends, foster families, doctors, teachers, therapists, and anyone else who is knowledgeable about the youth’s history and life.
Locally, yes. CASA volunteers go where their CASA youth is. You will visit your CASA youth(s) wherever they are living and attend court hearings at the Vel R. Phillips Juvenile Justice Center. You may also travel to speak to your youth’s family members, educators and school administrators, and healthcare providers, among others. During COVID-19, many meetings are conducted via Zoom and volunteers follow protocols to limit interaction and exposure.
We ask that volunteers commit to 15 months of service. Some cases will reach permanence much more quickly and others will take longer. Once your CASA youth reaches permanence you will get to decide if and when to accept another case.
A typical volunteer dedicates around 2-3 hours/week to their role as a CASA. This includes visiting with your youth and the adults in their life, writing notes and court reports, and communicating with your supervisor. However, this may vary. A case with one child may require less time while a larger family may require more. Our staff is very sensitive to the time you can offer and offers cases accordingly.
We have CASA volunteers who work and care for their own children. We also have CASA volunteers who have more flexible schedules and are able to dive into more complicated cases. It takes all kinds of CASA volunteers to serve the children of Milwaukee County.
Sign up below to access the application! After we review your application, we will contact you to set up an interview. If you are eligible to become a volunteer and pass our background check, you will be signed up for CASA training. At the end of training, you’ll be officially sworn in as a CASA volunteer and ready to begin your work!