Absolutely! Many of our volunteers have full-time jobs and families. Most of the CASA’s duties are carried out on their own time. Such tasks may include conducting independent research, reviewing relevant documents, visiting/interviewing biological and foster families, and of course, visiting the children in their placements. With that said, there may be some challenges regarding scheduling. We often have to work around the schedules of others since we are asking to enter their homes — and as of this last year, their screens! Foster families tend to be busy people!
There are certain necessary CASA commitments that take place during regular business hours, such as case meetings or court hearings. Court hearings typically occur 3 to 4 times a year and are scheduled months in advance. We encourage potential volunteers to have a conversation with their employers about taking time off for these appointments. We generally find that employers are willing to be flexible, particularly for such a good cause. If a volunteer must miss one of these important meetings, their CASA staff supervisor will participate and communicate on their behalf, later providing the volunteer with a summary of what they missed.
The time commitment of a CASA volunteer is definitely something to consider, but it is often the case that people are able to balance the workload and schedule accordingly with sufficient notice.
Answered by Advocate Supervisor Statler Kramer
High school sweethearts. Arkansas alumni. Accountants. Parents.
In 2016, Kristi and Jeff added CASA advocates to their titles and accomplishments.
At that time, Kristi and Jeff were balancing successful, full-time careers and three beautiful children. To an outsider, their lives probably looked complete. But, something was pulling at Jeff’s heart. He realized that not every child had the opportunity to grow up in a family like his, and he felt a real desire to give back. While the Blaschkes had considered fostering, their lives never seemed to be in a place where they could make that commitment. Having known several CASA advocates, they knew it was a great opportunity to serve this community of children in a meaningful way. It was a real benefit that they could share this experience together, as they have the rest of their lives.
It’s been five years since that journey began. While intimidated a bit at first, they have leaned on their training, their CASA supervisor, and each other to be what these children need during this difficult time. They make a great tag team. Jeff can keep the kids occupied while Kristi interviews parents. If work prevents one of them from visiting the children, the other one is there as back-up. They can divvy up calls, court reports, and staffings – just like they would for their own children’s extra-curriculars or doctors’ appointments.
It’s not always been easy. They’ve been surprised by how drawn out this process is for children and earnestly wish that these innocent kids didn’t have to face these circumstances. But, the days they’ve witnessed adoptions or heard how one of their CASA kids continues to excel in school despite her trauma…well, they know their time and energy has been worth it. And through the good and bad, they are there for each other.
We are indebted to the Blaschkes for their years of impact. If you too feel called to serve, we strongly encourage you to join us for a CASA 101 info session. See the upcoming dates and times here.