Volunteer- Advocate Training Overview

Chapter 1 - Introducing the CASA/ GAL Volunteer Role

  • Welcome
  • Understanding child abuse
  • Principles and concepts that guide CASA/GAL work

Chapter 2 – Introducing the Law, the Child Protection System, and the Courts

  • The development of child abuse and neglect laws
  • Introducing Child Protective Services and the court process
  • The roles in a juvenile court case

Chapter 3 – Developing Cultural Competence

  • Diversity, cultural heritage, and personal values
  • Culturally competent child advocacy
  • Developing an action plan

Chapter 4 - Understanding Families: Part 1

  • Family strengths
  • Understanding families through culture
  • Stress in families
  • Risk factors for child abuse and neglect
  • Impact of mental illness on children and families
  • The impact of domestic violence on children and families

Chapter 5 – Understanding Families: Part 2

  • The impact of substance abuse / addiction on children and families
  • Poverty: the facts for children
  • The importance of family to a child

Chapter 6 – Understanding Children

  • The needs of children and how they grow and develop
  • Attachment, resilience, and separation
  • Permanence for children
  • Psychological and educational issues for children

Chapter 7 – Communicating as a CASA / GAL Volunteer

  • Developing communication skills
  • Communicating with children
  • Dealing with conflict
  • Understanding confidentiality

Chapter 8 – Practicing the CASA / GAL Volunteer Role: Gathering Information

  • How a CASA / GAL volunteer is appointed to a case
  • Planning the investigation and gathering information
  • A successful CASA / GAL volunteer interview
  • Investigating a case

Chapter 9 – Practicing the CASA / GAL Volunteer Role: Reporting and Monitoring

  • Community resources
  • Writing court reports and making effective communication
  • Appearing in court
  • Monitoring a case

Chapter 10 – Putting It All Together

  • Self-care for volunteers
  • Support from CASA / GAL program staff
  • Focusing on the needs of the child