Lackawanna County CASA

Court Appointed Special Advocates

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can be a CASA volunteer?

No special skills are required--only the desire and commitment to make a difference. Advocates must be 21 years old, have a flexible schedule and are asked for a minimum commitment of eighteen months in order to ensure stability and consistency for the children we serve. Because they will be working with children, CASA volunteers are required to pass a criminal background check and a child abuse clearance.

How does a CASA volunteer become involved in a case?

Only a Family Court Judge can assign a CASA volunteer to a case. Other parties that may request a CASA volunteer are the Dependency Court Master, Children and Youth Services Executive Director, Community Services Director and Solicitor, Child's and/or family’s attorney or other human service agencies.

To what types of cases is a CASA volunteer assigned?

A CASA volunteer is assigned to children already in the foster care system or to those at risk of entering foster care as a result of abuse, neglect and/or the parents'/guardians' inability to care for the children.

How old are the children involved?

The children range in age from newborn up to age 18.

What are the responsibilities of a CASA volunteer?

The role of a CASA volunteer is different than a mentor or friend. They make thorough investigations into Family Court matters by speaking with all parties involved in the case and submitting formal written reports to the Court. The goal of a CASA volunteer is to move children effectively through the child welfare system into safe, permanent homes where they can thrive.

Is travel involved?

Locally, yes. CASA volunteers make home visits and attend court hearings, as well as agency and school conferences.

Can a CASA volunteer really make a difference?

Research studies have shown that the introduction of just one caring adult in the life of an abused child can change the course of that child's life forever. With CASA volunteers, children who have known only hurt, rejection and disappointment from adults learn to trust, hope and love. A CASA volunteer advocate makes a profound and positive difference for neglected and/or abused children.

Do I need special training to be a CASA volunteer?

Yes. The content of a CASA volunteer's 30 hours of training and court observation are mandated by the National CASA organization and the Advocacy Alliance. You will learn about the child welfare system, how to work with children involved in the system, and other skills necessary to help your assigned child(ren). CASA volunteers can choose from a range of options to satisfy the 12 hours of additional training that are required annually.

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Lackawanna County CASA Mission Statement

Advocate for abused and/or neglected children; give them hope, support and encouragement; enhance their resiliency; and ensure that their voices are heard as the juvenile court system seeks safe, permanent, and nurturing homes.

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