Is Lyon County CASA affiliated with the National CASA organization?
Yes, Lyon County CASA is a provisional member of the National CASA program. Lyon County CASA is in the process of becoming a full member of the National CASA organization.
How did the CASA movement begin?
In 1977, a Seattle juvenile court judge concerned about making drastic decisions with limited information conceived the idea of citizen volunteers speaking up for the best interest of abused and neglected children in the courtroom. Today, more than 50,000 advocates serve in 948 programs nationwide.
When did Lyon County begin their program?
Lyon County CASA was formerly known as Court Appointed Advocates for Children (CAAC). CAAC was formally organized as a non-profit organization in the State of Nevada in 2009. The Board of Directors decided in 2014 to become affiliated with the National CASA organization and was granted provisional membership status in December 2014. They have one year to qualify as a full member in National CASA.
Who serves on the Lyon County CASA Board of Directors?
Betty Weiser chairs the board. Other directors are: Edrie LaVoie, Jim Sciarani, Marian Pinkerton and Janice Shipley.
To what types of cases are CASA volunteers assigned?
Child welfare cases are the primary focus of Lyon County CASA. In child welfare cases, children have been removed from the home and are in state custody. Advocating for these children is our basic mission.
Child custody and/or family dispute cases may be assigned to Lyon County CASA volunteers at the request of the Third District Court. CASA volunteers provide impartial information to assist the court in reaching a decision.
How do CASA volunteers help children?
The CASA volunteer advocate serves as “guardian ad litem” under NRS 432b.500. The CASA volunteer does not provide direct service. Their job is to listen to everyone involved in the case and to advocate to the Court in what is in the best interest of the child. The CASA volunteer talks to teachers, doctors, social workers and foster parents to see how the child is doing and advocates for educational and health services to be ordered by the court.
The CASA volunteer reports to the Court about how the parent is doing on their case plan and helps keep an eye on the child’s safety and health. The CASA volunteer makes recommendations to the court as to whether they believe the child should be returned to the parent, be adopted, have a guardian appointed or age out of the child welfare system at age 18. Our goal is a safe permanent home for the child.
What type of training do CASA volunteers receive?
CASA volunteers receive training on court procedures, child development, domestic violence and other relevant subjects. National CASA provides a training curriculum which is required of all CASA volunteers.
In Lyon County, volunteers will be able to complete their training on-line and also meet in small groups to review and discuss the information.
Volunteers will be able to attend court hearings as an observer, hear from court judges, meet with social workers to learn more about how the system works in Nevada and hear about procedures in Lyon County to address child abuse and neglect.
What are the typical types of activities a volunteer may undertake?
CASA volunteers are requested to meet with their CASA child at least once every thirty days. CASA volunteers build relationships with the legal parties and supporters of child and family. CASA volunteers review all relevant reports and documents. They can participate in school meetings as well as meetings with social workers. They are encouraged to talk with medical personnel as well as therapists – basically anyone who may have some information related to the child’s well-being. CASA volunteers write reports for the court making recommendations about services, placements and visitation.
Our major activities relate to Interviewing, Advocating, Monitoring and facilitating. WE DO NOT make referrals or provide direct service.
What is the expected commitment from a volunteer?
Volunteers are expected to complete their training (an average of 30 hours) and to complete an assigned case. State law indicates resolution should occur within one year, but cases typically last longer than that.
Each volunteer will typically take one case (one family), but could possibly take on another case. Hearings and case planning meetings typically occur during the “work day.”
Typically, there is a lot of activity at the beginning of the case as the volunteer meets with multiple people involved in the case. As the case plan is developed, volunteer activity will vary according to the meetings or hearings scheduled. It is not the amount of time spent each week, but the need to stay focused over the length of the case.
CASA volunteers are requested to meet with their CASA child at least once every 30 days. Volunteers are asked to stay with the case until it is over. This helps provide consistency and follow-through for the child.
CASA volunteers are also encouraged to complete 12 hours of additional training each year.
Are there other types of volunteer needs other than becoming a CASA volunteer advocate?
Yes, Lyon County CASA can use volunteers to provide administrative support, help with social media, update website information and more.