CASA Program – Oceana County

Oceana County CASA LogoWhat is CASA?

CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate. CASA volunteers speak up for the needs of abused and neglected children in the family court system. Each volunteer receives professional training and is assigned one child or sibling group at a time.

Children who are lucky enough to be assigned a CASA volunteer are more likely to succeed in school, receive the services they need, and find safe, permanent living situations. They are also less likely to re-enter the foster care system.

What do CASA volunteers do?

First and foremost, volunteers get to know their assigned child. They visit their child regularly. They talk with people involved in the child’s life (healthcare providers, foster parents, parents, school officials, social workers, teachers, etc.). They investigate the situation that brought that child’s family into the court system. They review health and school records. And then, based on their findings, they make recommendations to the court that will ensure the safety and well-being of the child.

Who can be a CASA volunteer?

CASA volunteers are ordinary people doing extraordinary things. They come from all cultures, professions, and ethnic and educational backgrounds. They must:

  • Be 21 years of age or older
  • Pass a background check
  • Complete 30 hours of pre-service training prior to being sworn in
  • Be willing to commit 12-15 hours per month to managing a case
  • Commit to the program for at least 1 year
  • Communicate effectively both verbally and in writing
  • Be able to maintain objectivity and act professionally
  • Have reliable transportation

How is The Fountain Hill Center involved with CASA?

In October 2016, The Fountain Hill Center’s Lakeshore Office became the supervising authority for the Oceana County CASA Program. Since then, Fountain Hill has grown the program from 1 active volunteer to 7, which has allowed one of the program’s longest-serving volunteers to take a well-earned break.

In 2017,  volunteers served 661 hours and drove 4,202 miles in service to 6 children. Over the next year, Fountain Hill hopes to grow the program to 12 active volunteers, which would allow for even more of Oceana County’s children to be served.

How can I learn more?

To learn more about the Oceana County CASA Program, or to find out how you can become a volunteer, contact our Advocate Supervisor, Emily Santellan, at oceanacountycasa@gmail.com or call (616) 796-4658.