Understand what CASA volunteers do and how they differ from social workers and attorneys.

What is a CASA volunteer?

A Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer is a trained citizen who is appointed by a judge to represent the best interests of a child in court. Most of the children are victims of abuse and neglect.

Is there a “typical” CASA volunteer?

CASA volunteers come from all walks of life and with a variety of professional, educational and ethnic backgrounds. There are more than 87,000 CASA volunteers nationally. Aside from their CASA volunteer work, 64% are employed in full-or part-time jobs; the majority tend to be professionals with 58% college or university graduates. Nationally, the majority of volunteers are women. More male volunteers are needed.

How do CASA volunteers advocate for children?

CASA volunteers offer children trust and advocacy during complex legal proceedings. CASA volunteers are not mentors; they advocate for the child’s best interests in areas of education, health, foster placement and, most importantly, permanency in a safe home. They help explain to the child the events happening involving the case, reasons they are in court and the roles of the judge, lawyers and caseworkers.

How much time is required to volunteer?

Each case is different. Cases can take months or years. Upon completion of training, volunteers work about 12-15 hours a month.

How are CASA volunteers different from social service caseworkers?

A CASA volunteer has more time to investigate a case. A CASA volunteer does not replace a social worker on a case; they are an independent appointee of the court. A CASA volunteer thoroughly examines a child’s case, knows about various community resources and makes recommendations to the court independent of state agency restrictions.

How are CASA volunteers different from attorneys?

A CASA volunteer does not provide legal representation in the courtroom—that is the role of the attorney. However, a CASA volunteer does provide crucial background information that assists attorneys in presenting their cases. It is important to remember that CASA volunteers do not represent a child’s wishes in court. Rather, they speak about the child’s best interests.

Do lawyers, judges and social caseworkers support CASA?

Yes. Juvenile and family court judges implement the CASA program in their courtrooms and appoint volunteers. CASA has been endorsed by the American Bar Association, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention of the U.S. Department of Justice.

How is CASA funded?

CASA Jeffco/Gilpin is not a government agency. Although we get assistance from the Colorado State Legislature, we rely on grants funded by private Foundations and Trusts, a County grant and private individuals. Learn how you can support our work!