CASA Court Appointed Special Advocates

Our Mission
 
Provide advocacy for neglected, abused, and at-risk children in the Family Division of the 29th Judicial Circuit Court, promote the best interest of the child, and establish safety and permanency for all children.  CASA of Gratiot County is committed to work in the court system through screened, trained and dedicated volunteers in collaboration with key agencies, legal counsel and community resources.
 
About CASA of Gratiot County
 
In 2006, community leaders from Gratiot County Juvenile Court, Gratiot County Department of Human Services, and concerned citizens convened for the first time to create a CASA program in Gratiot County.  In 2007 the CASA of Gratiot County Advisory Board was formed and it secured a Program Coordinator.  By 2008, the first volunteer was assigned a case.  In 2013 alone more than 40 children's voices were heard through the advocacy of the Gratiot County CASA Program. 
 
Frequently Asked Questions
 
What does CASA stand for?
Court Appointed Special Advocates
 
What is a CASA volunteer?
A CASA volunteer is a trained community member that is appointed by a judge to provide a voice in court proceedings for abused and/or neglected children.
 
What is a CASA volunteer's role?
A CASA volunteer works with attorneys, social workers, school personnel, health care providers, parents, and any others parties who are involved with the child.  From the information gathered, the CASA will make recommendations to the judge as to what is in the best interest of the child.  The term "best interest" is defined as a safe and permanent home as quickly as possible.  As objective observers, CASA volunteers allow the child to explain his or her own feelings, hopes, and opinions, these wishes are also expressed to the court.  CASA volunteers are not mentors, but they do advocate on behalf of children.
 
What does being a CASA require?
A CASA volunteer must successfully complete a minimum of 30 hours of training in addition to court room observations prior to their first case assignment.  Each CASA volunteer is required to visit their court appointed child every 7 to 10 days.  In addition to time spent with the child, the volunteer will conduct an investigation to determine what will be a safe, permanent home as quickly as possible.  Based on that information, the volunteer will submit a written report to the court.  A CASA is required to make a commitment to the program for a minimum of 18 months or until the resolution of their case, whichever comes first.
 
What are the qualifications?
A CASA volunteer may be any interested citizen who is 21 years old, has a valid driver's license, and has no history of abuse or neglect.  A CASA must be screened, interviewed, trained, and sworn in by the Family Court Judge.
 
How do I volunteer?
The first step to becoming a volunteer is to fill out an application and return it to Child Advocacy by mail, email, fax or in person.
 
Child Advocacy
525 N. State St. Suite 4
Alma, MI 48801
Fax: (989) 466-2140
 
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