If you haven’t heard of the CASA Program, it’s because judges, social workers, attorneys,
and CASA advocates are required to maintain absolute confidentiality about the children they
serve. In order to protect our children, therefore, the agency must work in relative
Only a Judge can assign a CASA advocate to a case. On occasion, the children’s or parent’s
attorneys, the caseworkers’ attorney or the child’s foster parents, may request
that a Judge assign a CASA volunteer.
CASA advocates are assigned to children already in the foster care system.
CASA advocates may be assigned to children ranging in age from newborn to age 18.
The role of a Court Appointed Special Advocate is different than a mentor or friend.
Advocates make thorough inquires into dependency matters by speaking with all parties
involved in the case and submitting formal written reports to the Court. The goal
of a CASA is to move children efficiently through the child welfare system into
safe, permanent homes where they can grow to be successful adults.
Locally, yes. CASA volunteers make visits with their appointed child and attend
court hearings, as well as agency and school conferences.
Most of the time, CASA advocates work alone; however, staff is available to accompany volunteers
to court or professional meetings when appropriate. In addition, advocates maintain
active contact with Program and Peer Coordinators for support and supervision.
No one specific type of background is required. All CASA advocates must have the time to
devote to the case; the ability to communicate clearly, both orally and in writing;
and must complete approximately 32 hours advocate training and courtroom observation.
The Department of Child Safety is the agency that provides protection to Arizona children
in need. Caseworkers are employed to provide services to strengthen family life and to enable children to remain safe in their
own homes, or to reunite them with their parents if they are already in foster care.
A CASA advocate does not replace a caseworker on the case, but is an independent appointee
of the court who monitors both the actions of the family and the case plan activity,
with only the best interests of the child in mind.
A CASA advocate does not provide legal representation. That is the role of an attorney: in
Arizona, children involved in dependency proceedings are appointed their own attorney,
who provides legal representation (GAL). Instead, the CASA volunteer advocates for the best
interests of the child. The CASA advocates provides crucial background information that assists
judges in making the best decision for a permanent outcome.
Each volunteer and each case is different. The amount of time devoted to a case
depends on the specific family and the amount of time the volunteer has available.
CASA advocates devote an average of fifteen hours per month. As cases unfold, the demands
of research, interviews and report writing will vary. Some weeks will be busier
The strength of the CASA Program is the appointment of one volunteer to devote the
time and attention to a case that each child deserves. Each CASA advocate works one case
at a time: that may be one child, or several children in the same family. Occasionally,
a CASA advocate may take on another family if the first situation is close to resolution.
Judges have noted the value of the information that a CASA volunteer brings to the proceedings
and are appreciative of the unique perspective presented by CASA advocates. In addition,
national studies show that a child who has been assigned a CASA volunteer is more likely to
secure needed services in a timely manner; is moved from placement to placement
less frequently; is more likely to have his/her case reviewed regularly by the court;
and has a better chance of living in a safe, permanent home than those who do not
have CASA representation.
To be accepted into a training session, prospective advocates must complete the
application form (providing three non-relative character references), give permission
for a background check, take a polygraph examination and participate in an initial
interview. Following classroom training, the prospective volunteer may participate
in a final interview to determine if CASA of Maricopa County is the right volunteer
opportunity for them.
Most CASA advocates work full or part-time, some are retired, and some do not work outside
the home. Daytime availability and flexibility are essential. Some of the advocate work will be gathering information from caseworkers, attorneys and other
professionals who work business hours.
Advocates with the CASA Program are asked to make a one-year commitment and may
renew their commitments annually.
Your first step is to submit an application. After submitting
your application, our office will contact you to schedule an interview.
Background checks will be conducted, and, if accepted into the program, you will
be notified of the next available training schedule. The 32 hours advocate training
sessions are held monthly. More information will be provided at your interview.