Child Advocate Program
Frequently Asked Questions
Each year, nearly 300,000 abused, neglected and abandoned children in the United States are thrust into court through no fault of their own. In these cases, many children also become victims of an overburdened court system; a complex legal system of judges, lawyers, social workers, counselors, and court officers, who frequently do not have time to give detailed attention to each child.
CASA was created in 1977 to ensure that the best interests of these children were being heard in court and that they were given the individual attention that they deserve. The Okanogan County CASA Program was founded in 1998, as part of the non-offender services being provided through the Juvenile Department. Today, our local CASA Program is referred to as the Okanogan County Child Advocate Program.
After being appointed by the judge, the Child Advocate will be supervised by professional staff Guardian ad Litems from the Juvenile Department. Duties include investigation of the case by reviewing records and interviewing people who may have information about the child: physicians, parents, teachers, relatives, counselors, etc.). Most importantly, the Child Advocate will spend time speaking to the child. The Child Advocate will assist in monitoring the court ordered services, reporting to the Guardian ad Litem and making a written report to the Court regarding their observations and recommendations for the best interests of the child. The Child Advocate acts as an objective advocate for the child involved in the court system.
All volunteers must be able to give 3 to 5 hours per month. Contacts and appointment times are flexible. Child Advocates are requested to be present at court hearings for the children for whom they advocate. They must have basic computer access and knowledge, and professional writing skills.
Are you a responsible adult? Are you a resident of Okanogan County? Can you relate well to children and families in a stressful situation? Are you able to be open minded and objective? Are you able to maintain confidentiality? Do you care for children in need? Do you have a small amount of time to commit? If your answers are “Yes”, then you may be eligible to become a Child Advocate volunteer.
For information about National CASA and testimonials from CASA volunteers around the country, click here. Your local Child Advocate Program is administered by Okanogan County Juvenile Department Court Services.
You may contact the Okanogan County Juvenile Department (509) 422-7250 if you have additional questions. Applications must submitted online by clicking here Child Advocate Volunteer Application. There will be a thorough criminal background check, child protective services check, sex offender registry check, personal references contacted, and an interview scheduled. If you are accepted, it will be conditioned upon the successful completion of the volunteer training program, which will educate you about the court process and the role of a Child Advocate and give you practical experience on a sample case, using a the Washington State customized curriculum.