Change a child’s story by becoming a CASA Volunteer

The Guardian ad Litem (GAL) Office is looking for adults to become CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) volunteers for children in Carbon and Emery counties. The volunteers are individuals from all walks a life that advocates for children.

“So CASA actually is an acronym for Court Appointed Special Advocates and what a CASA Volunteer does is advocates for best interest in court for a child who is in either Foster Care or receiving services due to abuse, neglect or any other type of thing that has caused the family to have a child removed from their home,” said CASA Representative, Nichole Nielson. CASA is a nationwide program of volunteers that are appointed by a GAL attorney. These volunteers will be sworn in by the court as a CASA Volunteer and an officer of the court.

“Our Court Appointed Special Advocates fall underneath the umbrella of the Guardian ad Litem office. The Guardian ad Litem are the actual legal counsel attorney who represents the children in court, in front of the judge,” explained Nielson. CASAs agree to commit to serve one year and to visit with the child at least twice a month and spend an average of five to eight hours a month on the case.

Both Carbon and Emery counties have been without a program coordinator so over the years the program has lost some of its CASA volunteers. However, they are now looking to rebuild the program by enlisting more volunteers within the area. “Volunteers do need to be 21 or older, they will be required to pass two background checks, one with the Division of Child and Family Services and the other a Bureau of Criminal Investigation background check,” said Nielson. Interested individuals will also need to complete 32 hours of training and be committed to serving a child. The primary responsibilities of a CASA volunteer is to gather information, document findings, appear in/attend court hearings, monitor case plans and court orders, keep the GAL informed and visit with the child.

Nielson finishes by telling interested individuals what they need to do to become a CASA volunteer, “You can go to the Utah CASA website and they’ll have more information there for you if you would like to have more information through that way. You can also contact me through email or by phone and my email address is nicholecn@utcourts.gov.” The phone number to the CASA Office is (801) 360-6011 where further information can be found as well.