Volunteer advocates are trained at our Advocate Academy located at 3001 W. Roosevelt Rd in Little Rock. Our offices are located on the first floor of the Juvenile Justice Complex in the Pulaski County District Court building.
How Do I Become an Advocate?
- Complete an application including three (3) personal/professional references
- Interview with Pulaski County CASA Staff
- Complete a CPS background check
- Complete a criminal background check
- Complete 30 hours of pre-service training through the National CASA curriculum
- Complete courtroom and staffing observations
- Be available for court appearances, with advance notice
- Must be 21 years old
- Be willing to complete necessary background checks, provide references and participate in required training
Pulaski County CASA works with children that are victims of child abuse and neglect and have been placed in the foster care system. CASA advocates become the voice in court for these children in order to find a safe, permanent home as quickly as possible. Hopefully, that means the children can return home, but many times, that is not the outcome and an alternative placement has to be found. Those placement options can include placement with a fit and willing relative.
Exactly what does a CASA advocate do?
CASA advocates are appointed by judges to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in the courtroom and other settings. The primary responsibilities of a CASA advocate are to:
- Gather information: Review documents and records, interview the children, family members and professionals in their lives.
- Document findings: provide written reports to the courts to present as evidence.
- Appear in court: Advocate for the child’s best interests and provide testimony when necessary.
- Communicate with the child: Explain to the child (age appropriate) what is going on in the child’s case.
- Collaboration: Work with individuals and organizations involved in the children’s lives to come up with solutions to the issues that the child is facing.
- Make Informed Recommendations: Make sure the children and their family are receiving and benefitting from appropriate services and to advocate for additional services when needed. CASA advocates “paint a picture” for the courts of what is going on specifically with the child. They bring focus to the needs of each child and address concerns and make recommendations involving the child’s health, education, mental health, placements, etc.
- Monitor court orders and case plans: Monitor all court orders to make sure the parties in the case are in compliance with the courts findings. Monitor the case plans to ensure that they being implemented and are being followed.
- Keep the court informed: Update the court through court reports and testimony of the progress or the lack of progress toward the goals in the case.
What type of support will I have from CASA staff?
We are with you every step of the way! Your CASA Supervisor attends every court hearing with you and walks with you throughout your case. – CASA provides numerous opportunities throughout the year for continuing education through monthly meetings, yearly state conferences with the Arkansas State CASA Association, training offered through the National CASA Association, and other learning opportunities with our community partners. Other supports are offered through our Facebook community, case reviews, peer support, and connection events.