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What We Do

Frequent Questions

  1. Court Appointed Special Advocates are community members who ensure each neglected and abused child’s needs remain a priority in an over-burdened child welfare system. Our Advocates get to know the children, their caregivers, and the facts of the case. The children may have been removed from the home and placed in foster care or may be at risk of entering foster care. Advocates typically participate in child and family visits, court hearings, and meetings about a children's needs. Advocates express their concerns and explore options for permanent homes.

  2. They are people who care about the well-being of kids. CASA Advocates come from all backgrounds. Many work full- or part-time, others are retirees or students. Flexibility, rather than employment status, is the critical factor. Most CASA Advocates work on a single case at a time. No legal expertise is required.

  3. Decisions are made every day which affect the lives of children involved in family court cases. CASA Advocates help these decisions be made more with more information and greater sensitivity to the child's individual needs. CASA advocates work for better outcomes and provide children living outside of their own homes with the knowledge there are people who care about them..

  4. We have a 6-week training program requiring 18 hours in class, 15 hours self study, and 6 hours of court observation. Once assigned a case, the newly trained volunteer is matched with a supervisor on CASA's staff. Supervisors provide individual guidance and support.animent to the Advocate.

  5. Courts all over the country depend on their local CASA to help inform the child welfare process. Judges implement the CASA program in their jurisdictions and appoint CASA to cases. CASA has been endorsed by the American Bar Association, National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency, and the Department of Justice.

    Legislation provides statutory and legislative recognition of CASA, a volunteer- based program that, since 1981, has provided substantive advocacy for abused and neglected children in family courts throughout New York. The legislation codifies Court Rules established in 2006 that set forth the requirements for CASA program certification and Office of Court Administration funding, and define the role of the CASA volunteer in “providing thorough information about the health, safety, well-being and permanency plans of children and their families to the court, the parties and law guardian..."

  6. Advocates come from a variety of professional, educational, and ethnic backgrounds. Over half are employed full-time. Advocates must be 21 or older, undergo a background check and a personal interview, complete training, and agree to abide by the policies and guidelines of CASA of Rochester/Monroe County. Advocates must be patient, open-minded people who have good communication skills, a history of following through on commitments, and a willingness to accept guidance. Above all, they must care about children.

  7. CASA is assigned by the Family Court Judge in the case, but advocates do not have authority to decide outcomes. Rather, they rely on their communication skills, their informed reports and the respect of the courts to inform outcomes.

  8. The amount of time devoted to a case depends on the specific needs of the case and the amount of time the advocate has available. Advocates devote an average of 10-12 hours per month to their cases. Some of this time can be spent on evenings or weekends, but there are court hearings, phone calls, and meetings during daytime hours as well. We will work with you to determine an assignment that works well with your availability.

  9. Only trained Advocates are able to work with the children we serve. Children in family court cases are assured a degree of confidentiality, and the friends and family of advocates are not allowed to meet them or to know their identity. Only advocates who have been fully screened, trained, and have taken the Oath of Confidentiality, may have contact with CASA children. There may be other volunteer opportunities not involving casework, and you are invited to inquire what is available.

  10. Most of the time the advocates work by themselves. However, the staff supports and will directly assist volunteers upon request. For example, a volunteer may request that a staff person accompany him/her to a meeting or court hearing.

  11. Being a CASA is both rewarding and challenging. The child welfare system is bureaucratic and overburdened, and our Advocates often have to work hard to get the system to respond. Because of court decisions, social service plans, and other factors out of our control, the advocate can face disappointments. The biggest reward comes when the child is placed in a safe, permanent home, and the advocate knows they made a difference.

  12. To take the first step towards becoming an Advocate, complete and submit the CASA Advocate Application