Do you have questions? Let us answer your Frequently Asked Questions about becoming a CASA/GAL Volunteer.
What is a CASA/GAL Volunteer?
A Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) and Guardian ad Litem (GAL) is a community volunteer who is recruited, trained and supervised by a CASA Kane County Advocate Supervisor and appointed by a Judge to represent the best interests of abused and neglected children during a dependency case. CASA/GAL volunteers spend an average of 5-15 hours a month advocating for a child and the average case is three years. The volunteer gathers information from those who know the child best and acts as the “eyes and ears” for the Judge during the child’s time in foster care.
What is the role of a CASA/GAL Volunteer?
A CASA/GAL volunteer provides a judge with objective information about the child to help the court make life changing decisions about that child’s future. Each case is as unique as the child involved. The CASA/GAL volunteer learns by researching, interviewing and listening to the child in determining what’s in their best interest- to be reunified with their parents, placed in guardianship with a relative or adopted by a foster family. The CASA volunteer makes a recommendation on placement and services to the judge and follows through until the case is closed.
Who are CASA/GAL Volunteers?
CASA volunteers are compassionate, objective, self-motivated individuals with a devoted sense of community who are trained to speak on behalf of abused and neglected children. They come from all walks of life and many work full-time. In Kane County, we are appointed as the Guardian ad Litem (GAL) and have responsibility and commitment to provide the judge with an unbiased view as an appointed officer of the court.
How do I Become a CASA/GAL Volunteer?
Prospective CASA/GAL volunteers have the option of attending a general information meeting or completing a checklist of on-line informational tasks, submit an application with references, complete an interview with the program staff and attend a 45 hour training. A complete criminal history and child abuse registry check is performed on each applicant. Upon completion of their training, CASA/GAL volunteers are sworn in by the Juvenile Court Judge and promise to maintain strict confidentiality, objectivity, and professionalism throughout their appointment
How does a CASA/GAL Volunteer gather information about a case?
To prepare a recommendation, the CASA/GAL volunteer talks with the child and speaks to parents, family members, foster parents, social workers, school officials, health providers and anyone else significant in the child’s life. The CASA/GAL volunteer also reviews records pertaining to the child – including school records, medical records, caseworker reports, and other documents.
How much time and commitment is required to be a CASA/GAL Volunteer?
Children can be moved from one foster home to another and there are often frequent changes in caseworkers, attorneys and judges. As the one consistent person in the child’s life, we ask that our CASA/GAL volunteers be willing to make a minimum two to three year commitment or until the case is closed. A typical volunteer spends 5-15 hours a month on a case and the average length is three years.
Why is a CASA/GAL Volunteer needed?
The CASA/GAL volunteer is often the only one constant person advocating for the minor(s) throughout the duration of the case, often holding the child’s history, and providing a caring and supportive person that the child can trust. The on-going presence of a CASA/GAL volunteer helps children to thrive in foster care and ensures a safe and permanent home.
What makes the CASA Kane County Organization unique?
CASA programs are the only volunteer organizations that are directly connected to the court. Kane County CASA/GAL (guardian ad litem) volunteers are a further uniquely qualified set, sworn-in and appointed by a judge to advocate for a child who otherwise may not be heard. As adults come and go in the lives of abused and neglected children, they desperately need one consistent adult to stay with them for the length of their court case. CASAs research and learn what the child’s needs are, make recommendations and prevent a child from falling through the cracks of the child welfare system.
Want More Information About Volunteering for CASA?
Take the first step and follow these steps online or attend a General Information Meeting in Person:
- CASA/GAL Volunteer General Info
- Becoming a CASA/GAL Volunteer Video
- CASA/GAL Role & Responsibilities
- Have More Questions? Answers to More FAQ’S
Follow the Link to find General Information Meeting Dates and Register:
CASA Kane County is nonprofit volunteer organization advocating for the best interest of children in abuse and neglect situations throughout Northern Illinois. CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates/Guardian ad Litem) volunteers are specially trained to become the objective voice of a child for a judge.
CASA Kane County is currently seeking VOLUNTEERS! To learn more and Change a Child’s Story, please visit the organization’s website at www.casakanecounty.org or call 630-232-4484.