I am for meeting the needs of children.Most people are unaware of the fact that in Lake County and in Mendocino County, the rates of our children who entered foster care in 2010 were nearly twice that of the rate of the State of California overall.* This lack of awareness isn't because people don't care. It's not because they are not willing to do something about it. The truth is, for most households child abuse and neglect is not a discussion topic for the dinner table. Yet in 2010, for 8% of the children of both counties, it was a sad, scary reality. Eight percent! That is one out of every 13 children...how many children live in your neighborhood? How many children do you know personally? And, what can you do to about it anyway?
Things can turn out differently when you volunteer as a CASA.As a trained volunteer with CASA of Mendocino & Lake Counties, the time you invest as an advocate can help the courts make better decisions for children. CASA supports your volunteer commitment in many ways, including providing you with both initial and on-going training opportunities. We firmly believe that the more knowledge you have about the dependency and delinquency systems, the stronger your ability to advocate on behalf of our children.
What Comes Next?
- 1. Review, complete and return paperwork to CASA office.
- 2. Attend your Orientation/Initial Interview Meeting.
- 3. Actively participate in all CASA training classes.
- The training (which uses curriculum from the National CASA Association) consists of group classes and activities; homework; and scheduled courtroom viewings. CASA provides all necessary materials at no cost to its trainees.
- Total training time is a minimum of 30 hours, plus 4 hours of court viewing time.
- Trainees must attend and participate in all scheduled classes, or alternatively, complete any assigned independent study work; failure to do so may result in release from the program.
- 4. Pass all security screenings.
CASA of Mendocino & Lake Counties enrolls trainees in a DMV driving record tracking and reporting program. In addition, trainees are screened through fingerprinting (FBI and Child Abuse Central Index); and through inquiries with the National Sex Offender Data Base and local Social Services and District Attorney offices.
- 5. Once training is complete...
- A final interview is held to review the training, as well as any lingering questions or concerns.
- A Swearing in Ceremony is performed by the Presiding Judge or Commissioner of the Juvenile Court.
- You are ready for assignment to a child.
- 6. Continuing Education
Court Appointed Special Advocates are required to complete 12 hours of continuing education each calendar year subsequent to their oath-taking. This can be done through a variety of options including on-line courses, college classes, in-service sessions, books or videos. In addition, all CASA volunteers receive a monthly continuing education email which can be read and responded to in order to receive the allotted education credits.