After completing the application process and passing the screening requirements, each volunteer will complete a mandatory pre-service training curriculum, which consists of 30 hours of instruction in the child welfare system, juvenile law and legal procedures, child development, family dynamics, child abuse and neglect issues, interviewing and report writing techniques, advocacy skills and child permanency factors.
CASA pre-service training utilizes a blended learning approach by combining live and online delivery of information. The training experience begins with a short orientation to the CASA program. The thirty hour training curriculum then occurs over five sessions. Each session contains approximately 3 hours of self-guided work that participants complete online before attending a 3-hour instructor-led session that is delivered using a virtual platform or held in-person. Because half of this curriculum requires the use of a computer, all volunteers complete a brief self-assessment to help them determine if they are good candidates for participating in this type of learning experience.
Facilitators create a safe and supportive learning environment where volunteer candidates are encouraged to build knowledge and skills in child-welfare policy, judicial practices, CASA program values and best-interest advocacy. This training sets volunteers on a course to begin providing advocacy immediately upon appointment to a case.
CASAs work with their coaches and local Program Coordinators throughout their assigned cases. Coaches are experienced CASA volunteers; coordinators are experienced child welfare professionals. Both are available to guide CASAs through their activities and help them as problems or questions arise.
The content of CASA reports is written by the advocates based on their own independent investigations, but the coach and Program Coordinator assist through consultation and by providing for the formatting, editing and distributing of the report.