Volunteer

Be the difference for a child. Be a CASA Volunteer.

Volunteer Introduction

Court Appointed Special Advocates are trained community volunteers who dedicate their time to a child in foster care to advocate for the child in court and all aspects of their life. Volunteer CASAs make a positive difference for a child in foster care, helping the child to thrive and find safety and permanency. These committed and caring adults change the trajectory of a child’s life through strengths-based advocacy, trauma-informed care, and positive connections.

Why Become a CASA?

It’s simple. When kids in foster care have a volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocate on their case, it makes all the difference. Studies show that children with CASAs on their case have improved outcomes in every area of their life: health, education, safety, resiliency, access to services and more. The most important thing a CASA can do for a child in foster care is be the consistent in a time of change and turmoil. Volunteer Advocates serve the child welfare system in a unique capacity by bringing the individual needs of each child into the courtroom and community.

What Does An Advocate Do?

The role of a Court Appointed Special Advocate is not an ordinary volunteer role. CASAs come from a variety of backgrounds, but they all have something in common: dedication, and a heart for working with kids.

Build a Relationship

with the child

Meet with the Adults

in their life

Document & Report

everything you learn

Attend Court Hearings

Build a Relationship

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Meet With The Adults

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Document & Report

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Attend Court Hearings

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Build a Relationship

Court Appointed Special Advocates visit the children on their case regularly at their foster home and school to build a relationship with them. A volunteer CASA commits to be a consistent and trusted adult for the child through the change and turmoil of foster care. 

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Document and Report

With the information they gather from everyone involved on a case, volunteer Advocates write reports that are distributed to the judge and other people involved on a case to keep everyone informed on the child’s needs and wishes. 

Meet with the Adults

Volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocates gather information from every adult and professional involved in a child’s life, including foster parents, teachers, social workers, medical professionals, and members of the child’s family. 

Attend Court Hearings

In addition to writing reports, volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocates attend court hearings to be the voice of the child, and to advocate for their needs and best interests.
 

Steps to Becoming a CASA Volunteer

Step 1:

Info Session

The first step to becoming a volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocate is to attend a 45 minute Information Sessions. We have in-person and virtual sessions twice a month. 

Step 2:

Apply

After attending an information session, the next step is to let CASA know you’re ready to take the next step to become a volunteer Advocate. 

Step 3:

Interview

If you’re ready to join the CASA team, schedule a time to interview with CASA staff. We would love to hear why you’re passionate about serving kids in our community!  

Step 4:

CASA Training

CASA of Yellowstone County holds four training sessions a year. Each session is 8 weeks long and covers a wide variety of topics to prepare you to be a volunteer CASA. 

Step 5:

Graduate

After completing over 35 hours of training, you are finally ready to graduate and be sworn-in by a judge. Then you sit down and pick your CASA case! 

You can make a difference. Become an Advocate.

Take the first step. Attend an Info Session.

Thursday, December 1 — 12:00 pm

(Virtual)

Wednesday, December 7 — 10:00 am

CASA Office (1201 Grand Ave)

Thursday, December 15 — 6:00 pm

(Virtual)

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I help abused and neglected children in Yellowstone County?

There are many ways to support CASA of Yellowstone County. You can donate your time and become an advocate, you can donate money, or you can help us spread the word about the important work we do by scheduling us to come and speak at your organization. Call 406-259-1233 to inquire further, or email emily@yellowstonecasa.org.

What does it take to be a CASA Advocate?

No special experience or education is required. The following are good traits for a CASA to have:

  • A commitment to children
  • Objectivity and responsibility
  • Good communication skills (both written and verbal)
  • Open Minded
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality.

Some of the requirements of becoming a CASA are:

  • Attend an information session.
  • All potential volunteer advocates go through an interview process
  • Once you have interviewed, you will go through a 30+ hour training.
  • Must be able to pass an extensive background check

If you are interested in becoming an Advocate check out upcoming Information Sessions

When is a child eligible to have a CASA Advocate?
Only after a child has been removed from his/her home due to abuse or neglect and placed in the foster care system is a child eligible to have a CASA volunteer assigned.
When does a trained person officially become a CASA Advocate?
When they are sworn in by a judge of the Thirteenth Judicial District.
What are some of the outcomes for children who have a CASA Advocate?

Children with a CASA:

  • Spend, on average, 8 months less time in foster care;
  • Are half as likely to re-enter the system later;
  • Do better in school both behaviorally and academically;
  • Receive more services provided to them to help break the cycle of abuse.

You can read more about the effectiveness of a CASA by clicking here.

How many cases does each CASA Advocate handle at one time?
A CASA Advocate typically handles one or two cases at a time. A case includes all of the children in a family.
How long does each case last?
A CASA commits to staying with a case for as long as it lasts. On average cases last 18 to 24 months. However, each case is different and a case lasts until it is resolved, meaning until the child is returned home to parents, adopted or otherwise placed back in a permanent home, or until he/she turns eighteen and “ages out” of the foster care system.
Are CASA Advocates the same as Big Brothers/Big Sisters?

CASAs are different from Big Brothers/Big Sisters. While CASA Advocates naturally form relationships with the children they represent, they also serve as the eyes and ears of the court and bring the best interests of the child to the judge. CASAs have different guidelines and responsibilities than BBBS. 

What is a GAL?
In Yellowstone County, a Guardian ad Litem is a lawyer appointed by the Thirteenth Judicial District to represent the children in all cases involving children removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect. There are three court-appointed GALs in Yellowstone County.
Are CASA Advocates the same as social workers?
No. A CASA Advocate’s main focus is the child—the best interest of the child. By law, social workers are required to maintain the safety of the child while, at the same time, work with the parents to resolve the condition or conduct that resulted in the need for protective services for the child.
Do CASA Advocates get paid?
No. CASA Advocates are volunteers. That is what makes them so wonderful!
How is CASA of Yellowstone County Funded?
CASA receives some funding from the State of Montana Supreme Court and the Yellowstone County Commissioners. A majority of our funding comes from grant writing efforts, fundraising events, and support from individuals. You can donate today and help support abused and neglected children in Yellowstone County!

Advocates make a powerful difference

Volunteer’s Stories

Kayden

With no clear path forward, a judge appointed a CASA to Kayden’s case. Having experienced so much abandonment and uncertainty in his young life, Kayden was in desperate need of a stable relationship. Fortunately, because CASA Advocates commit to stay with a child in foster care until they find a safe and permanent home, the Advocate was able to be that stable person for Kayden.

Kaya and Carter

Throughout the 8 months the kids were in care, the CASA also became a support and cheerleader for their parents. She met with them regularly and encouraged them to go through their treatment plans to get Kaya and Carter home. After long months of addressing their substance abuse, the dad’s mental illness, finding housing and stable employment, the parents were finally on the right track to provide a safe and stable home for their two kids.

Paige and Sara

Paige and Sara are living part time with their dad and slowly making the transition back to his full time custody and care. The CASA has been a great resource for both the great-grandma and the dad on the case and they rely on her insight as they  work together for the two girls. The CASA will continue to be a great support for everyone involved, and advocate for the best interests of the two girls until they achieve permanency.

Be the difference

Children in foster care rely on their volunteer Advocates to be a consistent presence in their lives. Volunteer Advocates give the gift of HOPE to their kids and remind them that they’re not alone. 

Let’s talk 

Have Questions?

We would love to connect with you about any questions you have! 

Name(Required)

Take the First Step

Attend an Info Session