Imagine the experience of children who are removed from their homes because the people responsible for protecting them have not. These children find themselves in a world filled with social workers, lawyers, judges and courtrooms where life-altering decisions are made on their behalf.
A CASA volunteer is a court appointed, trained and committed adult who ensures that each child’s individual needs remain a priority in an over-burdened child welfare system. They get to know the child while also gathering information from the child’s family, teachers, doctors, caregivers and anyone else involved in the child’s life in order to make independent and informed recommendations to help the judge decide what’s best for the child.
If you are looking for a meaningful and enriching volunteer opportunity in Bernalillo county and want to do something about child abuse, CASA is right for you. There are over 900 children in our county that still need a CASA.
NM Kids Matter Commitment to Equal Opportunity is an important part of our core values. In order to provide the best quality advocacy for children in our community, we believe that we must be responsive to the needs of everyone who may provide, receive or be affected by our services. To that end, all policies, practices and recommendations are administered without discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, age, gender, gender identity and gender expression, marital status, physical abilities or national origin.
400,000 children in America are still waiting for their CASA volunteer. Waiting for that one trusted adult who will stick with them until their case is resolved. Waiting because today CASA for Children can serve only 35% of the children in the foster care system.
CASA volunteers come from every walk of life and share a commitment to improving children’s lives, a willingness to learn and an open mind towards life experiences different from their own. No special education, experience or background is needed.
You must be at least 21 years of age and be able to pass extensive reference, Child Protective Services, sex offender registry and criminal background checks before becoming a CASA volunteer.
National CASA reports that children with CASA advocates are more likely to receive therapy, health care and education, more likely to do better in school, less likely to be bounced from one place to another, less likely to get stuck in long-term foster care and significantly more likely to reach safe, permanent homes.
A CASA volunteer is often the child’s only link to maintaining family connections and can be instrumental in identifying family members as temporary or permanent placement options.
Most importantly, children themselves report that they know and can rely on their CASA advocate.
For volunteers, CASA is a life-changing experience that makes our community a better place.
As a CASA volunteer you commit to spending an average of 15-20 hours per month on one specific case for at least a year. You research the case, talk with everyone involved and build a trusting relationship with your child or family of children.
You will prepare reports to the court based on what you believe is best for the child, helping the judge make the most informed decision possible.
Volunteering is a serious time commitment, but the scheduling of your activities is mostly flexible.
We will provide you with all the training and support you need to serve as an effective advocate.
CASA training consists of on line and in person training over a 5 week period.
Training topics include: Understanding Children; The Law, the Child Protection System & the Courts; Cultural Competence; Domestic Violence & Family Strengths; Poverty & Substance Abuse; Trauma Informed Care & Mental Health Issues; Family Finding & Educational Advocacy .
Becoming an advocate involves a 3-part screening process. All training classes require successful application, interview, and background checks. Training must be completed in full in order to be considered for advocacy with Albuquerque CASA.
Once we receive your application, we will call you to schedule a Pre-Training Interview.
After your interview, you will attend the 5-week CASA Volunteer Training cycle that works best with your schedule.