Applicants are interviewed by the Executive Director and Volunteer Coordinator. All references are checked via US Mail or email, so it is helpful if the potential references are aware that they will be contacted by CASA of Cuyahoga County. At the successful conclusion of these activities, applicants are invited to attend pre-service training.
Cuyahoga County CASA is working hard to provide a variety of training options and opportunities to potential volunteers. We understand that many of our volunteers juggle many personal and professional responsibilities and we want CASA to fit into your lifestyle.
You Can Make a Difference in the Life of a Child
Pre-service training is provided by CASA of Cuyahoga County staff and is held at the Juvenile Court at 9300 Quincy Road. Training is partially funded by Ohio CASA. All training materials are provided to the trainees at no charge. We utilize a curriculum written and approved by the National CASA Association, but tailored to the unique experiences of CASA volunteers working in Cuyahoga County.
Training is a total of 30 hours including classroom time, independent study, observation, and a learning lab. The learning lab is a nice way for CASA trainees to practice their newly learned skills in a safe, controlled setting. Attendance is important, however we realize that life happens and in the event of a missed session, we will gladly schedule an individual makeup time to review the material together.
Upon successful completion of the training, trainees are invited to attend the swearing-in ceremony, officiated by the administrative judge. Trainees take an oath to serve as a Court Appointed Special Advocate, make a written pledge to CASA of Cuyahoga County and sign an agreement of service. CASAs are now ready to take their first case.
Once a CASA has been sworn-in to serve, a readiness interview takes place to discuss the volunteer's comfort with certain types of cases, family dynamics, and ages. Time commitment and ability to travel are also discussed. This information is important so that cases can be appropriately matched with the volunteer's available time, skill level, and confidence. Once a case has been assigned, volunteers are appointed by Juvenile Court as the Court Appointed Special Advocate on the case, and given access to all information relative to that particular child.
Investigate - Assess – Advocate
CASA volunteers research the case documentation and develop a plan for contacting all parties involved, most importantly the child. The CASA volunteers make an effort to see the child in a variety of settings in order to complete a thorough investigation and build an effective rapport. The CASA also contacts any significant adults or service professionals in the child's life in order to learn as much as possible about the child and the child's own unique story.
CASAs use their investigation and assessment information to make appropriate recommendations to Juvenile Court regarding the child's best interests. CASAs maintain an ongoing relationship with the child and family in order to provide ongoing support and advocacy both in and out of court.
A CASA remains appointed to a child's case until the court case has been closed and permanency achieved. Permanency looks different for each child, but might include being safely reunified with the child's birth family, living permanently with a relative, or becoming adopted.