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About Us
CASA FAQS
What is CASA?
We are Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for children; a volunteer-powered network of committed people—from all walks of life—who believe society has a fundamental obligation to these children. We are people just like you who believe that every child has the right to be treated with dignity, to be safe, and to thrive in the embrace of a loving family.

How Do CASA Volunteers Help Children?
CASA Volunteers are appointed by judges to watch over and advocate for abused and neglected children, to make sure they don’t get lost in the overburdened legal and social service system or languish in inappropriate group or foster homes. Volunteers stay with each case until it is closed and the child is placed in a safe, permanent home. For many abused children, their CASA Volunteer will be the one constant adult presence in their lives.

What Impact Does CASA Have?
Independent research demonstrates that children with a CASA Volunteer are substantially less likely to spend time in long-term foster care and less likely to reenter care.

Who Are CASA Volunteers?
CASA Volunteers are everyday citizens who have undergone screening and training with their local CASA/GAL program.

CASA Volunteers come from all walks of life: retired, full-time employed, single parent, married, social service backgrounds, business/corporate background, educational background, etc. CASA Volunteers are men and women that know how important a child’s well being is to the future and they want to make a difference in a child’s life.

Who Are the Children CASA Volunteers Help?
Judges appoint CASA Volunteers to represent the best interests of abused and neglected children. Hundreds of thousands of children are subject to abuse and neglect or allegations of the same each year. CASA Volunteers work with children from the age of birth to 21 who need a committed and caring adult to speak up on their behalf. Because there are not enough CASA Volunteers to represent all of the children in care, judges typically assign CASA Volunteers to their most difficult and severe cases of child abuse and neglect.

CASA Volunteers in the Shoals are making a difference for children: from ensuring children are offered the services necessary to help them heal and succeed to informing the Court of important information regarding family members that only the CASA is able to provide.

There are so many children who need a CASA Volunteer in our community, but yet they don’t have one. Contact us today to learn how you can make a real difference for an abused or neglected child.

Who Can Be a Volunteer?
SHOALS CASA is looking for people who care about children and have a heart to see children safe and successful. We welcome people from all walks of life.

As a CASA Volunteer, you will be thoroughly trained and well supported by the SHOALS CASA staff. CASA pre-service curriculum consists of a study on various topics such as family dynamics, substance abuse and mental health issues, child development, dependency court processes, interviewing, and writing court reports. Additional in-service opportunities on specific topics that affect local families is offered throughout the year to continue to support CASA Volunteer work.

What Does it Mean to Be a CASA Volunteer?
Becoming a CASA Volunteer is an investment of time, energy and heart. As many CASA Volunteers have said of the children they worked with: "It wasn't about what I did for them as their CASA Volunteer, it became more about what the children showed me was possible."

How much time does it take to be a CASA Volunteer?
All CASA Volunteers must complete a 30-hour pre-service training requirement and a background screening. The time commitment to a case varies depending upon the stage of the case, the circumstances involved in the child’s case, and the unique needs of the children involved in the case. CASA Volunteers sometimes say that there is a greater amount of work in the beginning of the case, when they are conducting their initial research. On average, you can expect to spend approximately 7 to 10 hours a month on a case which includes a monthly visit with the child(ren) and any appointments and communications that may take place during the month.

Do I need to make a long-term commitment to the program?
Yes. Because of the nature of the cases that CASA Volunteers are assigned, CASA Volunteers are asked to commit and dedicate yourself to a case until it is closed. There are laws in place that direct the child welfare system on the length of time that a child may spend in foster care or out-of-home placements. The average dependency case can last lasts about a year and a half.

Do I need to have any special skills?
No. SHOALS CASA will provide you with training that will equip you with the skills necessary to be a child’s advocate. Once the pre-service training and background screening are complete, we will be here to support you with any additional information that you need to be the best advocate possible for an abused or neglected child.

Are there any certain requirements to become a CASA Volunteer?
  • You must be at least 21 years of age.
  • You must be willing to complete necessary background checks, provide references and participate in an interview.
  • You must be willing to complete a minimum of 30 hours of pre-service training.
  • You must make yourself available for court appearances on behalf of the child you are assigned with advance notice.
  • You must be willing to commit to remaining assigned as a child’s CASA Volunteer until the child’s case is closed.

Exactly what does a CASA Volunteer do?

CASA Volunteers listen first. CASA Volunteers get to know the child to whom they are assigned by talking with everyone in that child's life: parents and relatives, foster parents, teachers, medical professionals, attorneys, social workers and most importantly, the child. After the information is gathered, then a CASA Volunteer uses the information they gather to inform judges and others in the child welfare system of what the child needs and what will be the best permanency plan for the child. home for them. The primary responsibilities of a CASA Volunteer are to:
  • Gather information by reviewing Review documents and records; interviewing the children, family members and professionals involved in the lives of the child and family.
  • Document findings by providing written reports at court hearings and monthly updates to the child’s Individualized Service Plan Team.
  • Appearing in court to advocate for the child's best interests and provide testimony to the Court when necessary.
  • Make recommendations for services and ensure that the child(ren)and the family are receiving appropriate services and advocate for those services that are not immediately available.
  • Speak for the child by bringing concerns about the child's health, education, mental health, etc. to the appropriate professionals.
  • Seek cooperative solutions among individuals and organizations involved in the child's life.
  • Monitor the child’s case and situation so that the child’s right to permanency is not prolonged.

How Is SHOALS CASA Funded?
SHOALS CASA is funded through a variety of grants, fundraising events and through generous donations from individuals, organizations and companies within our community. Partnerships with individuals and companies in the Shoals community provide in-kind opportunities for specific supports as well.

Can I make a donation or contribution to CASA?
Yes. SHOALS CASA is very appreciative of the financial support from individuals and companies. In fact, we cannot do this important work for children with your support. You can easily make a donation to Shoals CASA online, or by mail and your donation is tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law as SHOALS CASA is classified as a 501(c)(3) organization by the Internal Revenue Service. SHOALS CASA also receives donations in the form of goods and services that are used to support our program. Do you have a business that is interested in helping abused and neglected children? Contact our office and partner with us to make a difference in a child’s life.

In what other ways may I support SHOALS CASA program?
  • Writing/layout/editing/publication/distribution of the program's newsletter
  • Designing a website, or maintaining current information on a program website
  • Hanging CASA posters at your place of business or in your community
  • Inviting CASA staff to present a program to a civic, church or community group
  • Organizing a fundraiser
  • Presenting an in-service training workshop on a topic about which you have professional expertise
  • Find and follow us on Facebook and share our events with your friends and family
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