Those interested in serving as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) on behalf of local children are encouraged to attend a training class for program volunteers next month.

A CASA volunteers to help children who are in need of services and support in the Juvenile court system. They meet with the families and report back to the court.

Before a CASA can meet his/her first family, they must complete a 30-hour (once a week for 10 weeks) training class.

During this class they will gain an overview of the policies and procedures of the CASA program, be introduced to Department of Social Services, and learn about their new responsibilities, which include permanency planning and family preservation.

Participants in the class will discuss understanding children, including those with disabilities, those with attachment issues, those who are impacted by substance abuse and poverty and those who have suffered from abuse and neglect.

In addition, the class will cover how to gather information, how to report back to court and how to monitor one’s case. All CASAs are fully trained and ready for their first case. Classes will begin in August and will be held on Monday evenings from 6 - 9 p.m.

Potential volunteers are also required to observe a court hearing in Juvenile court.

At the conclusion of the training, the volunteers will be sworn in as representatives of the court by the Juvenile Court Judge. CASAs usually have only one case at a time and they schedule the contacts around their own schedule.

For more information on becoming a CASA, or on the upcoming training class, contact Ann Casey, the Director of Goochland CASA, at (804) 556-5876 or email her at acasey@goochlandva.us.

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