In an overburdened social welfare system, children experiencing abuse and neglect often slip through the cracks. Court appointed special advocate (CASA) and guardian ad litem (GAL) volunteers (what they’re called varies by location) make a life-changing difference for children who have experienced abuse or neglect.
Appointed by juvenile court judges, CASA/GAL volunteers typically handle one case at a time until the child is placed in a safe, permanent home. Other people come and go in the child’s life, but their CASA/GAL volunteer provides a constant presence the child needs to thrive and move on with their life.
Volunteers start by getting to know everyone in that child's life: parents and relatives, foster parents, teachers, medical professionals, attorneys, social workers and others. They use the information they gather to inform judges of what the child needs and what will be the best permanent home for them.
You do not have to be a lawyer or social worker to be a volunteer. People from all walks of life are welcomed to apply. We are simply looking for people who care about children and have common sense. As a volunteer, you will be thoroughly trained and well supported by professional staff to help you through each case.
You must pass a background check, participate in a 30+ hour pre-service training course and agree to stay with a case until it is closed (a year and a half on average). Read more about the requirements and role of being a CASA volunteer and find a local CASA/GAL program near you.