Job Description: Volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocate  

OBJECTIVE

  • To provide diligent advocacy to ensure children in foster care have their needs met and rights protected; that they are moved out of foster care as quickly as possible; and that older youth aging out of foster care have the support and resources they need to live independently. 

QUALIFICATIONS

  • Completion of all screening requirements, which include a written application, interview, references, criminal background checks, and clearance with the New York State Central Register for Child Abuse and Maltreatment
  • Completion of 30-hour new advocate core training  
  • Must be at least 21 years of age 
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Ability to take initiative, work independently and navigate complex systems 
  • Willingness and ability to travel throughout NYC when necessary
  • Knowledge of or willingness to learn about the NYC child welfare system
  • Knowledge of NYC government agencies and community resources a strong plus 
  • Commitment to dedicate at least 3-5 hours each week on each case assigned, more if necessary
  • Commitment to serve for a minimum of one year after case assignment, or until an assigned case is closed
  • Computer literacy 
  • Bilingual applicants strongly preferred 
  • Applicants who reflect the racial, ethnic, economic and linguistic diversity of New York City communities are strongly encouraged to apply 
  • Candidates may not be employed in a position and/or agency that might result in a conflict of interest

 

RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Interview appropriate parties involved in the case to assess needs and determine whether necessary services are being provided to child and family; this may include interviewing child, parents, foster parents, teachers, service providers, attorneys for all parties, and other relevant resources
  • Participate in court hearings, foster care agency meetings and other relevant conferences and meetings when possible
  • Advocate diligently for the provision of services that are necessary for a child’s well-being or in the child’s best interest
  • Advocate diligently to protect the rights of children at all times
  • Advocate diligently for services for parents that will assist parents in reunifying with children, when the goal is reunification
  • Submit progress noted to supervisor bi-weekly
  • Respond promptly to inquiries by attorneys, court personnel, parents, children, youth, CASA staff and all related parties
  • Maintain accurate and complete records and documentation about all activities related to the case, including appointments, interviews, and information gathered about the child and family’s services  
  • Submit written reports concerning the facts of the case to the court at all hearings 
  • Gather information and report findings to the court without bias and discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identification, race, ethnicity or national origin
  • Maintain complete confidentiality regarding information about the child, as well as information regarding other parties involved in the case
  • Exhibit professionalism in behavior and appearance
  • Notify supervisor immediately to request removal from a case if Advocate becomes aware of conflict of interest, including relationship to any party to the case 
  • Respect a child’s inherent right to grow up with dignity in a safe environment
  • Report any new incidents of child abuse or neglect to the CASA supervisor and the State Central Registry
  • Complete a minimum of 12 hours per year of in-service training, either provided by CASA or by outside providers approved by CASA supervisor 
  • Meet with supervisor in person at least monthly, for individual or group supervision
  • Maintain contact with supervisor by phone or email at least weekly