Frequently Asked Questions

What Does A CASA Volunteer Do?
CASA volunteers are appointed as “friends of the court” to help children who have been abused and/or neglected acquire the services they need and achieve permanency in a safe and nurturing home as quickly as possible. CASA volunteers interact with various individuals in the child’s life and make recommendations to a judge based on the best interests of a child. CASA volunteers produce a report of their findings and present it to a judge, which ultimately helps the court to make a sound decision about the child’s future.

Who Can Be A CASA Volunteer?
Anyone who meets the following criteria is eligible to train as a CASA volunteer. Final selection is at the discretion of the CASA program.

  • Must be at least 21 years of age
  • Must have the ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing to prepare court reports and communicate with professionals
  • Give a minimum one-year commitment once assigned
  • Willing to donate 10-15 hours of service per month
  • Complete a 40-hour training course
  • Pass a background check including criminal, child abuse registry, sexual offender registry, and references
  • Must possess mature judgment, high degree of responsibility and sufficient time to serve the best interest of the child
  • Must be able to relate to persons of different cultures, ethnic backgrounds and socioeconomic status

What Training Does A CASA Volunteer Receive?
CASA volunteers receive a combined total of 40 hours of in-person, pre-service training. Volunteers are also required to fulfill 12 hours of in-service training per year. 

What Is The CASA Philosophy?
The CASA concept is based on the fact that every child has the right to a safe, permanent home. A juvenile court judge appoints a volunteer to the child’s case. The volunteer then becomes an official part of the judicial proceedings, working alongside attorneys and social workers as an appointed officer of the court. However, unlike attorneys and social workers, the CASA volunteer speaks exclusively for the child’s best interests. By handling only one or two cases at a time, the CASA volunteer has time to thoroughly explore the history of each assigned case. Voices for Children Montgomery is the only program in Montgomery County where volunteers are appointed by the court to advocate on behalf of an abused or neglected child.

How Long Does A CASA Volunteer Remain Involved With A Child’s Case?
Our CASA program requires a minimum of a one-year commitment with the ultimate goal of the volunteer continuing until the case is permanently resolved and permanency has been achieved. One of the primary benefits of the CASA program is that, unlike other court principals who often rotate cases, the CASA volunteer is a consistent figure in the proceedings and provides continuity for a child.

How Much Time Does It Require?
Each case is different. A CASA volunteer usually spends about 10-15 hours a month doing research and conducting interviews prior to court hearings. 

How Are CASA Programs Funded?
Voices for Children Montgomery receives funding from the Maryland Administrative Office of the Courts, Montgomery County, and the Governor’s Office on Crime Control and Prevention. Voices for Children Montgomery also depends on community support. Foundations, corporations, fundraising events, annual giving, and grants are just some examples of the ongoing support received by Voices for Children.

How Effective Have CASA Programs Been?
Research suggests that children who have been assigned CASA volunteers are half as likely to re-enter foster care and are significantly less likely to spend time in long-term foster care. A child with a CASA volunteer is also more likely to do better in school, have better conduct, and more likely to find a permanent home.