There are two parts to this question -- the head and the heart.
For the head, we have a solid process
In training, you will have learned a lot about the different kinds of challenges youth in the foster care system experience at different times in their lives. Near the end of training, you will be assigned a Supervisor, an experienced volunteer CASA or staff member who helps support and advise new CASAs. You’ll work with them to hone in on any specific groups of children in foster care you might want to work with.
It’s important to be flexible: like all children, children in foster care have a wide range of interests, needs, and hopes. Volunteers who start the process with a very narrow image of the kind of child they want to help – left-handed quarterbacks or passionate dancers under 5 – will have difficulty finding a good match.
Much of the purpose of being a CASA is to step into a child’s world and help them understand it, rather than planning to bring them into your world. You may find that your advocate child shares your passion for model trains or creative writing; or you may find new interests by helping them explore what they want from the world. Once you have determined for yourself what type of child you are hoping to help, your Supervisor will find you 2-3 profiles to review.
This is where the heart comes in
Most of our volunteers say that when they started reading the case file, a particular child’s story leapt off the page for them. That something about their experiences, where they came from, where they might be heading lit up the volunteer CASA’s imagination. Want to know more about what our volunteer CASAs do with their advocate children? Read on.