Court Appointed Special Advocates are ordinary people who care about children. They volunteer their time and talents to help make sure that children who have experienced abuse or neglect aren’t negatively affected by the state system intended to protect them.
CASA of Iowa is affiliated with the National Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA)/Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) Association for Children, which, together with its state and local members, supports and promotes court-appointed volunteer advocacy so that every child in crisis can be safe, establish permanence and have the opportunity to thrive.
CASA Volunteers amplify the voices of children who have been judged as "children in need of assistance" by the state. You'll learn your role through comprehensive training, and then you'll be assigned your own case. A coach and a CASA coordinator will be there to support you along the way as you advocate in court for your assigned children.
CASA volunteers come from every walk of life.
They are teachers, sales people, lawyers, retail associates, service workers, accountants, bankers, retirees, Realtors, nurses, military personnel, construction workers, small business owners, and executives. They are men, women, Millennials, Baby Boomers, stay-at-home moms, grandparents, and college students.
They are you.
CASAs have empathy, integrity, and a desire to help make a better life for a child. They are good communicators, collaborators, organized, and able to reach out, not only to children and their families but also to others involved in the social welfare system.
- Have a genuine interest in advocating for children, their rights, and needs.
- Have time to perform CASA duties and a schedule that allows for the completion of mandatory duties.
- Can commit initially to a one-year case assignment as a CASA and understand that a CASA is expected to continue case responsibilities until the case or the assignment is terminated by the court.
- Have the ability to interact with people involved in the child welfare system — child, family, and professionals.
- Have the ability to communicate effectively verbally and in writing.
- Are at least 19 or older.
- Are able to pass a criminal and child abuse background check.
- Are not employed by the Department of Health and Human Services, the District Court, or an agency with which HHS contracts for services for children.
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:
- child welfare system
- juvenile law and legal procedures
- child development
- family dynamics
- child abuse and neglect issues
- interviewing and report writing techniques
- advocacy skills
- child permanency factors.
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.
Volunteers 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.
For Current Volunteers & Staff
- Connect to CAMS
- EDMS (Court System)
- Advocate & Coach Policies and Procedures
- Health-related consent form
- Non-health related consent form
Support Our Mission
Friends of Iowa CASA and ICFCRB is a non-profit agency that partners with the Child Advocacy Board to promote and support volunteer advocacy for abused and neglected children and public awareness of the importance of safe and permanent homes for all children. Donations to Friends of Iowa CASA and ICFCRB are tax deductible and are used to support the recruitment, training and ongoing support and recognition of volunteers in the Iowa CASA and FCRB programs.