New moms in Austin can nail down some time out of the house and spread some much needed mommy love by volunteering with CASA of Travis County. CASA volunteers, or court-appointed special advocates for children, dedicate fifteen to twenty hours a month to children in need who are moving through the courts system.
According to the CASA of Travis County website, volunteering is “easier than you think”. Volunteer hours are flexibly scheduled and can be just a few each week. Each volunteer is assigned to one child for a minimum commitment of one year. Serving as the eyes and ears for the overburdened courts, a CASA reviews the child’s case, speaks to involved parties, and builds a trusting relationship with the child himself. Then the court calls upon the CASA to speak in the best interest of the child in life-altering decisions regarding the child’s future.
For an abused, neglected, or abandoned child a CASA is often the only familiar face in a constant progression of lawyers, judges, and social workers and can make the difference between a child feeling lost and a child feeling like a priority. CASA volunteers do not only get the opportunity to make huge impacts on needy children’s lives; they often feel equal or greater impacts on their own. For new moms with soft spots in their hearts for less fortunate children, CASA is the perfect volunteer opportunity.
To become a CASA a volunteer must pass an application process and a self-paced 30-hour training program before being sworn in by a county judge. Then each volunteer is paired with a staff professional for support and guidance throughout the volunteer process.
Of course, dads are also welcome to volunteer. In fact boys are disproportionately represented in the courts system, especially African-Americans, so African-American dads are especially welcome. More details on volunteering can be found here.