Have you heard of CASA?

At the beginning of the year I heard about CASA through a foster parenting blog/podcast/article. I’d love to be a foster parent in the future so I’m always reading about policy and experiences of foster parents. Though I can’t remember the exact source I remember thinking, “This is it! This is the perfect volunteer opportunity for me.” I submitted a request for an application and after passing the screening interview I started training at the beginning of the summer. I finished last month and yesterday I was sworn in and am now a CASA!

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I didn’t talk about it while I was going through the training process because I was worried I wouldn’t make it. It is a pretty intense volunteer gig because CASAs (Court Appointed Special Advocates) are a party to the case and have access to records, people, and resources to help craft a report for the judge outlining what is in the best interest of the child. Our county is unique because our director is an attorney and we have been trained a lot on the law aspect of the cases.

This is a time intensive job with a big commitment (2 years, or the life of your case). I won’t be able to discuss it at all because of confidentiality rules, but I’ll be getting a case soon and I’m sure I’ll be up to my eyeballs in paperwork. So if I’m MIA, you’ll know why!

And if you’d like to read more about it our local paper wrote us up (we were on the front page!): here (I’m in that picture, in the middle) and here (I’m in that picture too, but you can’t really tell :).

I’m so excited to be able to help kids in Marion county in this way. If you have the time and love foster kids but the time isn’t right to be a foster parent now I encourage you to look into this. In Marion county alone we’d need 300 more volunteers to cover all children currently in the system. And of course there are lots of other great volunteer opportunities out there. I was inspired to look for a place to volunteer by Sciarrino who has been working with Children’s Cancer Association since March of 2009.

Do you volunteer? I’d love to hear about it.

22 Replies to “Have you heard of CASA?”

  1. Congrats on getting through the program and getting sworn in! That’s great! It sounds like a much needed volunteer job that can help some little or not so little kid out.

  2. Cool! My mom does this exact thing (though I don’t think there’s a nice acronym for it in Washington state; she always just calls herself a guardian ad litem). She’s only had one case so far but it is really intense and has been going on for a couple of years. She always dreamed of foster parenting too. Seems to draw similar crowds. Good luck!

  3. That is great Amber! I know you will make such a difference. If only every child could have you on their side. Good luck!
    I used to volunteer at a women’s shelter reading with kids but now that I’ve changed jobs it would make my terrible commute just about impossible. I definitely miss it though.

  4. that is awesome – congrats to you, and thanks for helping out. =)

  5. My mom is a CASA volunteer here- she loves it, however she does spend several hours/week on the case she has now. We always sponsor some CASA kids at Christmas too.

  6. so awesome amber. like i told you last night, you will be a fantastic asset to those children. they are so lucky to have you on their side. way to go friend, good job!

  7. Very cool, Amber!

  8. Wow! You are fantastic! I am so impressed!

  9. Yay!!! I am so happy for you! It must feel awesome to have passed the trainings!! With all you have going on it is amazing that you still find time to share with others. Do they have an award for amazing people like you? If so we should nominate you! Those kids are lucky to have you.

  10. That is fantastic!!! I have to admit, I am very jealous that you are able to volunteer. I have been a volunteer at so many different places with children throughout my life…most recently at a home for girls in Chicago. But…I was forced to give it up after Miri was born because Justin is never home!! 🙁 You’d think that after working w/kids all day I’d be tired of them, but I love it! You are going to make a great advocate! 🙂

  11. Congratulations! What an awesome way to help.

  12. CASA and GALs are the same thing, just different names in different states (not sure why). That’s cool that she does it, yay!

  13. That’s awesome Ami, they told us to expect 15-20 hours a month, more at the beginning of a case. I clicked over to your blog and forgot how much I LOVE YOUR SPINNING. You are my spinning idol. I need to keep up on your flickr stream, I wonder if I can add it to my reader?

  14. If my mom didn’t live so near, and my brother’s fiance (!!) I’d never be able to do it. I also should have mentioned that Aunt Sciarrino spent the night almost every Tuesday night while I was training to watch Tutu. I could never do it alone.

  15. That’s great! I have a coworker that has been with CASA here in Clark County for 5 or more years now, she really enjoys being able to help – but it is a huge commitment and emotional drain on her at times. I don’t volunteer, I honestly don’t know where i’d find the time right now, but I have helped where I can when I can and maybe in the future i’ll be able to do more. 🙂 I think i’ve just had a hard time of it with volunteering because so much of it always reminded me of my dad and his passing and i’m still trying to work through that (8 years later), so one day when i’ve worked through it a bit more, I think i’ll be ready to help out in the community.

  16. It was emotionally draining just to learn about some of the things the foster children go through right here in my city. I imagine my case will take it out of me at times. It was a total process getting to this point. I had a bad experience trying to volunteer at our hospital. I waited four years to find another gig, you’ll know when the time is right. 🙂

  17. CONGRATS!!!!!!!! How fantastic! The kids are very fortunate to have someone like you on their side 🙂

  18. And wait, Brent’s getting married?!?

  19. yeah I second that….what?….Brent is getting married??!!!! How awesome!

  20. So happy for you! You will really enjoy it. I haven’t met Brandon’s yet, but the time will come.
    Looks like we will be coming to town over MLK weekend! Will have to come visit and maybe get some pictures taken!
    Congratulations!

  21. That would be so fun, I would love to take pictures of you guys!

  22. This is so great! CASA is my college sorority’s (Kappa Alpha Theta) philanthropy! As soon as my children are grown (I have 3, ages 8, 6 and 2) I will become one as well.

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