Dependency CASA Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Dependency CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate)?
A Dependency CASA is a trained community volunteer who acts as an advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children who are the subject of Juvenile Court proceedings.
How does a child become involved in court proceedings?
The child comes to the attention of the court once a dependency petition alleging abuse or neglect has been filed at Juvenile Court. At the first hearing on the petition, the court may order that a Dependency CASA be appointed for the child.
How does a CASA collect information about a case?
The Dependency CASA talks with the child, parents, family members, social worker, school personnel, health care providers, foster parents and others who know about the child's situation. The CASA also reviews records pertinent to the case. The amount of time required depends on many factors, such as the complexity of the case and the experience of the CASA.
How long does a Dependency CASA remain involved with a case?
The CASA continues to be involved in a case until the child is returned home or has another permanent home. The CASA is a consistent figure in the proceedings and provides continuity for the child unlike other individuals involved who may rotate cases.
What kind of training does a Dependency CASA receive?
After careful screening and reference check, volunteer candidates receive 28 hours of training. The volunteer receives a comprehensive manual which covers the Dependency CASA role, court procedures, judicial protocol, program policies and additional training information. The volunteer is provided with supervision and guidance. Throughout the year there are core trainings, study groups, support and recognition events and conferences. Additionally, a newsletter is published on a regular basis.
What characteristics do we look for in a Dependency CASA?
We look for qualities rather than credentials. We look for individuals who are:
- Committed to Children - Open to Personal Growth
- Sensitive to Cultural Issues - Skilled in Interpersonal Relationships
- Willing to Maintain Objectivity - Able to use Common Sense
- Creative Problem Solvers
- Willing to make an 18-month commitment
- African Americans and other people of color are especially needed
Are Legal Volunteer Opportunities Available?
We need enthusiastic volunteer lawyers to represent CASA volunteers at trial or occasionally at other stages of the dependency proceedings.
Volunteer lawyers enjoy the personal satisfaction of knowing that they are helping to improve the lives of Washington's neediest children. The legal staff of the Dependency CASA Program provides training, matching with a CASA volunteer and case, technical assistance, and consultation to become the best possible advocate for a child. Legal volunteers develop trial skills, become familiar with local judicial officers, and gain confidence, ease and poise in court. Commitment to the program may be as short as a week or as long as a lifetime, depending upon the volunteer's availability and interest.
Contact the pro bono coordinator of your law firm or the Dependency CASA Program for information on how to become a volunteer.
Dependency CASA offices are located in Seattle and Kent.
For more information or to request an application:
Mail: Dependency CASA Program
King County Superior Court
1401 E. Jefferson, Suite 500
Seattle, WA 98122
For more information about CASA visit these web sites: