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|Thousands of Iowa Children Need a CASA Volunteer|
|News Releases - Not-for-Profit News|
|Written by Jill McMillan|
|Thursday, 22 October 2009 07:59|
A CASA Volunteer is a Voice for Abused and Neglected Children
DES MOINES, IA – October 21, 2009 – The Iowa Child Advocacy Board is currently seeking people interested in becoming COURT APPOINTED SPECIAL ADVOCATE® (CASA) volunteers for some of the thousands of Iowa children currently under the juvenile court’s jurisdiction due to abuse and neglect. The Iowa CASA Program trains and supports community volunteers to serve as an effective voice in court for these most vulnerable children, strengthening efforts to ensure that each child is living in a safe, permanent and nurturing home.
“CASA volunteers are truly special people who play a huge role in a child’s life by serving as an extra set of eyes and ears for judges presiding over abuse and neglect cases,” said Michael Isaacson, Chair of the Governor-appointed Child Advocacy Board. “They donate their time and energy to provide a safety net for kids in the child welfare system. The need for this safety net is even more obvious in these times of troubled budgets, as our Courts and child welfare agencies are being challenged to do more with less. CASA volunteers are ordinary citizens doing extraordinary things to help keep the best interests of our children in the forefront.”
CASA volunteers are appointed by a judge to a specific abuse and neglect case, to gather information and make recommendations to the Court that help assure the child’s needs are being met and that everyone is working together to resolve problems and achieve permanency for the child. Volunteers typically stay with each case until it is closed by the Court, and the child is in a safe, permanent home.
The basic requirements for becoming a CASA volunteer are that one be a committed, caring adult who can think independently and use good judgment, have good communication skills and time to spend on their assigned case. Volunteers average about 10 hours a month on their cases attending court appearances and maintaining contact with the child, the child’s parents, case workers, foster parents, therapists, teachers, doctors, relatives and anyone else who has knowledge of the child’s situation.
CASA volunteers are asked for a one year commitment following 30 hours of training in the child welfare system, juvenile law and legal procedures, child development, family dynamics, child abuse and neglect issues, interviewing and reporting techniques, advocacy skills and child permanency factors. Each volunteer works with their local Program Coordinator on a day-to-day basis and is appointed to each case by a juvenile court judge.
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