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Be a Richmond CASA Volunteer
Volunteer your time to make a difference in a child’s life.
Richmond Court Appointed Special Advocates is currently in need of volunteers to serve children in our community. CASA volunteers are appointed by judges to advocate for children who have been abused or neglected. They make sure the child’s needs are heard – in the community and in the courtroom – and serve as a caring, consistent adult in a child’s life. They are individuals from all walks of life who are willing to dedicate their time to looking out for a child’s best interests.
CASA volunteers get to know the child and gather information from everyone involved in his or her life, including parents, relatives, foster parents, teachers, doctors, lawyers, social workers and other service providers. CASA volunteers use the information gathered to report to the judge, advocating for the child’s best interests.
Last year, approximately 55% of the children we served were male, while only 14% of our CASA volunteers were men. In the city of Richmond, the families involved in the court system are disproportionately African American. We have also seen an increase in the number of Spanish speaking children who are before the court. We continue to have a high need for male and Spanish speaking volunteers, as well as volunteers of color, but we encourage all those interested in this volunteer opportunity to apply.
CASA Volunteers must meet the following criteria:
- Be over the age of 21
- Have regular access to a car and a computer
- Willing to commit at least 18 months of their time in order to provide consistency for a child throughout the entire case
- Willing to participate in the 34 hour training class
- Able to devote 10-15 hours each month to their case
- Able to effectively communicate orally and in writing
- Have a professional attitude
- Have a genuine desire to help a child in need
- Have no significant criminal, child abuse registry, or driving violations history
Ready to speak up for a child who needs you?
Step 1: Information Session (Optional)
Would you like to hear from a CASA volunteer about their experience? Please join us for CASA Conversations, an information session on March 12 from 6-7 pm. You will have the opportunity to learn how CASA volunteers advocate for the best interests of children who have been abused or neglected. A current volunteer will be there to speak about their experiences and answer questions. The event will be located at Greater Richmond SCAN’s Henrico office. RSVP by March 11th to email@example.com or 804-646-5180.
If you are still deciding whether this volunteer opportunity is right for you, but can’t attend the information session, you can also learn more by reading our Frequently Asked Questions or contacting Heather Farber at firstname.lastname@example.org or 804-646-5180.
Step 2: Application
Once you have decided that you would like to become a CASA volunteer, download the CASA Volunteer Application. You can email the application to Heather Farber at email@example.com or fax it to 804-646-0624. We are currently accepting applications for our upcoming training class on a rolling basis. Please apply no later than April 2, 2019 to secure a spot in our next training class.
Step 3: Interview
Part of the screening process is an in-person interview with two CASA staff members, so that you can learn more about the Richmond CASA program and we can assess whether you will be a good fit for this volunteer role. Because we work with children, we conduct a thorough background check on all of our volunteers. You will be asked to complete several background check forms while you are at the office for the interview.
Step 4: Training
We offer 3 New Volunteer Training classes each year. Click here to see the schedule for the next training class, which begins on April 16, 2019. Richmond CASA volunteers participate in 34 hours of pre-service training, which involves 30 hours of classroom interaction and 4 hours of courtroom observation. Training is an extension of our screening process.
Step 5: Swearing In
After successful completion of the previous steps, you will be sworn-in by a Richmond Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court Judge and ready to accept your first case. Richmond CASA staff will be on-hand to support you every step of the way.
A CASA’s Story
Maria retired from teaching, and was looking for a meaningful way to give back to her community. As soon as she heard about CASA, she felt like it was the perfect fit for her. After she went through training, she was quickly assigned to Carrie’s case. Carrie entered the foster care system after she was sexually abused and neglected in her mother’s home.
Over the next 3 years, Carrie would be moved into four different foster homes. She bounced around to 3 different schools, and worked with many different service providers. Throughout her time in foster care, she had one consistent person in her life – Maria. Maria followed her case closely over those three years, and advocated for what was in Carrie’s best interest. She advocated for Carrie to receive mental health services as she struggled to deal with the trauma she had experienced. She also advocated for Carrie to be adopted after it became clear that Carrie’s mother would not be able to provide a safe home for her. Maria followed her case when Carrie moved into her final foster home with a loving and patient couple who would eventually adopt her.
During one of her final visits with Carrie, Carrie was drawing a picture of all the things that were most important to her, including her adoptive parents, her new siblings and the family dog. Then, Carrie surprised her by drawing a picture of Maria. She gave Maria a hug and whispered, “I wish you were my grandma.” That’s when Maria knew that she had made a difference in Carrie’s life.
If you have questions about becoming a CASA volunteer, please contact Heather Farber at Heather.Farber@richmondgov.com or 804-646-5180.