Jena Bauman Adams, MPH
UMass Medical School / Dept. of Pediatrics
National Children’s Study Worcester County
Can you tell us about CASA and what you do as a volunteer?
CASA stands for “Court-Appointed Special Advocates” (for youth) and is a national organization. CASA Worcester County focuses on training and facilitating volunteer child advocates to serve as “guardian ad litem” for children who have been removed from their homes due to reported abuse, neglect or exploitation. CASA staff and volunteers support the court in helping these children navigate through the foster care and court systems.
As a volunteer I am appointed as “guardian ad litem” for the child/children involved in the case. I receive information about the case and then conduct regular in-person visits with the child and perform additional contacts/interviews with adults involved in the case (e.g. parents, foster parents, social workers, doctors, counselors, etc.) I compile reports from these activities for the CASA supervisor, who then develops reports for the judge on the case. As a volunteer, my main goals are to help monitor the child’s well-being in his/her current placement and to gather current facts that may help inform the judge in her/his decision making about what is best for the child.
How did you find out about CASA?
Volunteer Fair at South Street Campus
Do you have a memorable experience you can share?
The curiosity, hesitation, and yet willingness and desire to connect that I’ve encountered in each child, no matter what age.
What are the time commitments?
Completion of initial application, interview and 30-hour training.
Afterwards, the average time commitment is approximately 10-20 hours per month until the case is closed (average 1.5 year). CASA staff helps tailor assignments to individual volunteer’s availability.
Is there anything else you would like interested volunteers to know?
This is interesting, meaningful and powerful volunteer work. An amazing way for busy people to “be the change you want to see” in a small way.
For more information on CASA please contact:
508-757-9877 X 11