Do you have questions about CASA of Oklahoma County? Before you contact us, you might find your answers in the FAQ below. If your question isn’t answered here, please drop us a line or visit our monthly Open House.
What is the history of the Oklahoma County CASA program?
Oklahoma County CASA was formed in the Fall of 1987. Our first class of child advocates was sworn in during the month of March of 1988. For our first 20 years we were under the Oklahoma County Juvenile Bureau. In July of 2008, we were established as a 501(c)(3) non-profit and changed our name to CASA of Oklahoma County, Inc. Our program is established in Oklahoma State Statue under §10A-1-1-105.
Why are CASA volunteers needed?
CASA Volunteers, often referred to as “eyes and ears” of the court, provide a unique perspective on Juvenile Deprived cases. For an over-burdened system, the entrance of a volunteer gathering information is immeasurably valuable. These cases are not simple and the answers are not always obvious. A CASA volunteer’s purpose is to gather enough information to determine the best interest of the child and advocate for that best interest. The child bears no fault in their situation and has no choice but to trust the adults around them. Their CASA volunteer will ensure that their best interest is brought to the table and heard in court. It may be a recommendation regarding their permanency, more visitation with their siblings, or it could be something seemingly small like a new pair of glasses or trip to the dentist. There are cases where a child has no family and the only people in a child’s life are paid. In this situation, a volunteer can be a powerful addition to their world.
What are the qualifications to be a CASA volunteer?
You might be wondering if you have to be a lawyer or have an advanced degree in order to volunteer with CASA. While these qualifications can be quite valuable in child advocacy, neither are necessary. CASA of Oklahoma County has volunteers from a wide variety of educational and professional backgrounds. The minimum requirements are that the volunteer be at least 21 years of age and pass a background check. Other restrictions can apply in certain circumstances, so it is best to complete our Volunteer Inquiry form to ensure that you meet the requirements to apply.
What is the time commitment?
A typical case will occupy 3-5 hours of a volunteer’s time per week, but varies case to case. A case with one child who lives locally will require less, but a larger family may require more. Our staff is very sensitive to the time each volunteer may have to give and offers them cases accordingly. We have CASA volunteers with jobs, their own children, and other commitments but who are still able to spare a few hours each month to impact a child’s life. We also have CASA volunteers who have more flexible schedules and are able to dive into larger cases. It takes CASA volunteers from all walks of life and backgrounds to serve the children of Oklahoma County!
How long will it be before I am assigned a case?
Our staff takes great care in matching our sworn-in CASA volunteers with our requested cases. The CASA volunteer’s background and availability are taken into account as well as the needs of the case. Our goal is not only to offer you a case quickly, but to offer you the right case. A CASA volunteer can typically expect to be contacted to discuss a case within a few weeks of swearing-in. If a CASA volunteer’s availability is a little more restrictive, it can possibly take a little longer.
Can you tell me more about the children you serve?
In the state of Oklahoma, there are nearly 11,000 children in the foster care syste, approxiamately 2,000 of those are in Oklahoma County. Since the formation of Oklahoma County’s CASA program, over 1,300 advocate volunteers have been trained. Because CASA cases can extend for years, CASAofOKCO has served 12,383 children during our 28 years, 4,929 of those children are newly appointed children through the years. During FY2015, CASAofOKCO’s 245 volunteers served 732 children on 325 cases. This is approximately ⅓ of the nearly 2,000 children in Oklahoma County’s child welfare system.
How can I support CASA?
CASA of Oklahoma County is an organization of approximately 286 people: 19 paid staff, 20 volunteer board members, and 245 community volunteers. Every day, we endeavor to secure ongoing funding to sustain our programs, including seeking support from corporations and/or foundations that have an affinity for our work, holding fundraising events, seeking individual donors, corporate sponsorships, and in-kind donations.
When I donate to CASA, where does my money go?
You can be a powerful voice for children. CASA programing is the heart of our mission and our only means of serving children. National CASA guidelines require that for every 30 volunteers we recruit and train, CASAofOKCO must provide one advocate supervisor. As a result of these guidelines, we must ensure our organization’s volunteer growth is attuned to our financial growth. Donations support the work of our community volunteers, improve outcomes for children in the foster care system and ensure that CASA of Oklahoma County continues to provide advocacy for every child who needs it.