The mission of the Shelby County CASA/GAL Program is to recruit, train, guide, monitor and maintain volunteer CASA’s (Court Appointed Special Advocates), who are appointed by the Juvenile Court as the child’s guardian to represent and protect the best interests of abused, neglected, and dependent children in court.
The Shelby County CASA/GAL Program endeavors to promote a comfortable and productive working environment for all volunteers. In keeping with this policy, sexual, racial, religious, ethnic, or other kinds of harassment of volunteers is a violation of program policy and will not be tolerated. We expect volunteers to treat each other and program staff with mutual respect. Please let the program staff know if you experience any difficulties in this respect. All volunteer policies are administered without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap, marital status, or sexual orientation.
Program Target Population
Shelby County CASA/GAL Program advocates for children between the ages of birth and 18 years or 21 years in the cases where the child has a developmental disability or the juvenile judge requests continued involvement past the child’s 18th birthday. These children have been adjudicated abused, neglected or dependent, without discrimination based on the child’s age, gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, nationality, disability or religion.
Basic Requirements for a CASA/GAL Volunteer
Shelby County CASA/GAL Program has high quality standards for volunteers. All volunteers must:
- Be 21 years of age
- Have a high school diploma or GED
- Successfully pass the program’s screening requirements
- Successfully complete the program’s 30 hour pre-service training.
- Abide by the Shelby County CASA/GAL Program’s policies and procedures.
Goals and Objectives
Accomplishing the following goals will be critical for CASA to meet the expansion plan outlined:
GOAL 1: Promote an increased awareness of CASA in the community
- Attend community events & United Way opportunities
- Increase media/social media coverage
- The Director speaks to community agencies/groups
- Communicate with other local agencies
GOAL 2: Raise Funds
- Identify other fundraisers
- Set goal of dollars profited at fundraiser
- Identify other sources of funding
GOAL 3: Quality Volunteers
- Minimum 30 hour pre-service training
- In-service training to be offered locally at a minimum of four times yearly
- Maintain diversity
- Maintain annual CASA volunteer reviews
- Perform exit volunteers by an advisory board member(s) whom is a part of the volunteer recruitment & retention/marketing committee.
Appointment and Referral Procedures
A complaint will be made to Children Services pertaining to abuse or neglect of children. Children Services will then investigate to see if the complaint is substantiated. If Children Services finds the case to be substantiated they will bring the case to court. At the initial court appearance of the case the Judge or Magistrate makes the request for a CASA. The Judge or Magistrate’s secretary then contacts the CASA program. The CASA program will match the case to an appropriate volunteer, if one is available. The Juvenile Judge or Magistrate must sign an order to appoint a specific CASA/GAL to the case. Once the file stamped appointment letter is received the CASA/GAL will have complete and immediate access to all records and documents pertaining to the child.
*In order for a volunteer to receive a case they must be sworn in, under oath, by the presiding Shelby County Juvenile Court Judge upon their successful completion of the pre-service training curriculum in order to receive their first case.