MARIN CASA

COURT APPOINTED SPECIAL ADVOCATES

YOU CAN BE A POWERFUL VOICE IN A CHILD’S LIFE

Please Contact Danielle Lopez

Recruitment and Training Coordinator

E-mail : danielle@marincasa.org

Phone: 415-785-3862 ext. 303

1401 Los Gamos, Suite #130 San Rafael, CA 94903

Download our volunteer application

CASA’S HISTORY:

The Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) concept began in 1976 and has since become a national volunteer movement. Seattle Superior Court Judge David Soukup founded the program based on his experience in the courtroom. As he was determining life-changing outcomes for children who had experienced abuse and neglect, he looked around the courtroom and saw there was no one there who could speak for the child. According to Judge Soukup, in an LA Times interview, “I was consumed by the fact that I didn’t have enough information about each child, and I just didn’t know if I had done the very best job I could.” Judge Soukup came up with an idea: well-trained volunteers who could ensure children’s voices were heard and provide judges with the necessary insight to make the best possible decisions. By 1977, Judge Soukup formed the first CASA program. The first program had fifty everyday people who volunteered to build meaningful relationships and advocate for children in the dependency court system.

Since those fifty volunteer advocates in 1977, a network of close to 1,000 CASA programs serving children has formed nationwide. Marin Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) is one of those programs.

CASA’S MISSION:

Marin CASA’s mission is to provide a voice for abused, neglected and abandoned children in the Marin County Juvenile Court system.

ABOUT CASA:

Our goal is to see every child live in a safe, permanent and supportive home.

To reach our goal, the Marin CASA program recruits, screens, trains and supervises volunteers who play a critical role in providing a voice for children in the courtroom. Our highly trained, court-appointed volunteers are responsible for making recommendations to the court for the safety, permanence and well-being of every child assigned a CASA.

Our CASA volunteers remain with their child from the beginning to the end of the case and advocate for their child’s fundamental needs including: medical, mental health, educational, cultural and permanent placements. They review records, research information and talk to everyone involved in their CASA child’s life. CASAs have contact with social workers, attorneys, parents, teachers, family members, foster parents, health professional and, of course, the children themselves. They establish a relationship with their child, getting to know his or her unique history while providing consistency and stability during an extremely difficult time in that child’s life.

When a child has an advocate, he or she is more likely to get needed services — and a permanent, stable home.

Are you eager to make a difference in a child’s life? Become a CASA volunteer.

CASA VOLUNTEERS?

CASAs are ordinary citizens, like you, doing extraordinary work. We have men and women with a variety of professional, educational and ethnic backgrounds. They work full-time, part-time, are retired and are students. CASAs must be 21 years or older to volunteer and all CASAs make a minimum commitment of at least 2 years to the program.

Qualifications and Abilities of the CASA Volunteer:
  • To make a minimum 24-month commitment to the program once assigned to a case.
  • To understand and follow all CASA policies.
  • To maintain confidentiality at all times.
  • To respect and relate to people from various backgrounds in a variety of settings.
  • To communicate effectively both orally and in writing.
  • To gather and accurately record factual information.
  • To meet report deadlines and requirements.
  • To be objective, open-minded and flexible.
  • To accept supervision and seek feedback from CASA staff.
  • To maintain professional and collaborative relationships with all community service providers.
  • To provide one’s own transportation.
  • To pass a security check including a criminal background check, DMV record check, SSN record check, Child Abuse Index Registry check and three (3) letters of reference.
  • Must be 21 years of age or older
  • Must attend 36-hour pre-service training

GET STARTED:

The first step in becoming a CASA is to complete our volunteer application which can be found here. Once you have submitted your application, Marin CASA staff will contact you. Those accepted into the program, must complete a 36-hour pre-service training. Please find our upcoming training schedule here.
Upon completion of our initial screening process and 36 hour training, volunteers are sworn in as officers of the court by the Presiding Judge of Juvenile Court. Once a volunteer has been sworn-in and all background checks have been cleared, a volunteer is ready to take a case and begin the journey as a CASA.

YOU CAN BE A POWERFUL VOICE IN A CHILD’S LIFE

Please contact Danielle López, Recruitment & Training Coordinator, for more information: danielle@marincasa.org; 415-786-3862 ext. 303