Before a volunteer can accept a case, he/she must first complete pre-service training provided by Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma. Training includes 30 hours of classroom instruction plus approximately 10 hours of homework and courtroom observation. Classes are offered one day per week for four weeks and are scheduled either on a weekday or on a Saturday, depending on the availability of the class members.
These classes use the new National CASA Association Volunteer Training Curriculum which provides volunteers with a solid base of knowledge and skills to begin their work with abused and neglected children.
Volunteer Curriculum Goals
Chapter 1: Introducing the CASA/GAL Volunteer Role
- Explore the goals and purpose of volunteer training
- Learn to recognize child abuse and neglect
- Be introduced to roles and responsibilities of a CASA volunteer
Chapter 2: Introducing the Law, the Child Protection System & the Courts
- Increase understanding of child abuse and neglect and development of child advocacy laws
- Learn about laws, child protection system and court procedures
Chapter 3: Developing Cultural Competence
- Become familiar with current thinking about cultural competence, diversity and the adverse effects of bias and discrimination
- Better understand cultural influences and personal biases
- Increase cultural competence and sensitivity in volunteer work
Chapter 4: Understanding Families, Part 1
- Learn a strengths-based approach to understanding families and children
- Understand child abuse and neglect indicators and risk factors
- Consider how stress, mental illness and domestic violence impact families
Chapter 5: Understanding Families, Part 2
- Increase understanding of families and ability to assess family situations of children
- Consider how issues of substance abuse and poverty impact families and children
Chapter 6: Understanding Children
- Learn about child development, attachment, separation and loss, permanence and resiliency
- Become familiar with educational, emotional and psychological issues that affect children.
Chapter 7: Communicating as a CASA/GAL Volunteer
- Practice communication skills needed to interview and observe children, deal with conflict and work collaboratively with others on a case
- Increase understanding of confidentiality and privacy issues
Chapter 8: Practicing the CASA/GAL Volunteer Role – Gathering Information
- Learn about the elements of a child’s court case
- Become familiar with court forms
- Practice skills necessary to gather necessary information
Chapter 9: Practicing the CASA/GAL Volunteer Role – Reporting and Monitoring
- Practice skills necessary to write an effective court report, appear in court and monitor a case
Chapter 10: Putting It All Together
- Identify volunteer self-care methods
- Become familiar with local office procedures
- Revisit importance of focusing on the child’s needs
- Review expectations of the training experience and the course material
In addition to the initial pre-service training, all CASA volunteers are expected to earn 12 hours of continuing education credits each year thereafter. Continuing education opportunities are provided throughout the year through a variety of options, including online resources and training opportunities led by the CASA staff. The agency’s office also maintains an extensive resource library for its volunteers.
The materials on this webpage have been assembled to make quality resources readily available to our CASA volunteers. These materials are intended to enrich your ongoing education and to help you become a more effective child advocate.
Please note that some of these resources are specifically designed to be used toward accruing the necessary 12 hours of continuing education required annually. Please let us know if there are any other resources you would like to see added to this webpage. We will be updating the materials frequently.
In-Service Training Credit Guidelines
All CASA volunteers are required to earn 12 hours of in-service credits each calendar year. This can be accomplished through a variety of delivery methods, including attending workshops, watching videos, and reading books or articles. Remember, all of these options should be related to your role as a CASA volunteer.
The list on the right outlines the amount of credit that can be earned for different types of training. Be sure to speak to Gayle Hanson, Training Coordinator, if you do not see a specific type of training listed or would if you would like to know if a certain type of training will qualify for credit.
Training type / allowable credit:
- Articles in magazine, journals, and newspapers / Maximum of 1 hour per article
- Articles in CASA newsletters / Maximum of 1/2 hour if newsletter contains training articles(s)
- Internet research for cases / Amount of time spent on research
- Books / 30 Minutes for each 50 pages – maximum of 3 hours per book
- Video or DVD / Length of the video or DVD
- TV Program / Length of program
- Online training module / Amount of time spent taking the course. Use recommended credit, if provided.
- Webinar or podcast / Length of webinar or podcast
- Satellite broadcast / Length of broadcast
- Conference / Length of conference minus breaks and lunch
- Community workshop or seminar / Length of workshop or seminar minus breaks
- Continuing education or college course / Actual course hours
To download a copy of these guidelines, use this link: In-service Training Credit Guidelines.doc.
Accessing Online CASA Training Options
The following websites offer a wealth of training opportunities:
CASA of Arizona
CASA of Arizona offers a wealth of in-service training opportunities to all CASA Volunteers and/or anyone interested in child welfare issues. This is a public site available to non-residents of Arizona, so you may follow the guidance for any Arizona online course with the exam and receive credit. To access their wealth of resources, use this link to their website: http://www.azcourts.gov/casa/Training.
To access a PDF file with an overview of the online resources available on the CASA of Arizona website, use this link: AZ Online CASA Training Options
Important: To obtain accurate credit for any of their courses, you will need to register with your full name and a password. Access the CASA of Arizona registration form by using this link: http://www.azcourts.gov/casa/Training/training-courses/training-course-exams.
Once you have completed an in-service training course, be sure to forward the certificate to Gayle Hanson, Training Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CASA Kane County
Another good resource is the CASA Kane County (Illinois) website. Their CASA University offers child advocacy information through a number of quality resources that are designed for continuing education and learning. There is no need to register for this website training. Just use this link to access a wide variety of resources and links: http://www.casakanecounty.org/casa-university/.
To access a PDF file with an overview of the online resources available on the CASA Kane County website, use this link: Kane County Online CASA Training Options
Important: Avoid materials designed specifically for Kane County or Illinois. Also, do not use their forms to document your training. Use our CASA agency’s form instead; download the form below.
A number of good advocacy resources can be found on the CASA National website: http://www.casaforchildren.org/site/c.mtJSJ7MPIsE/b.5301325/k.B550/Advocacy_Resources.htm.
To access a PDF file with an overview of the online resources available on the National CASA website, use the following links:
Again, there is no need to register for this website training, but any in-service training hours do need to be reported on our CASA agency’s form. Download the form below.
National CASA Podcasts
Through a series of interviews, the National CASA podcasts provide updates from the organization, alerts regarding legislative action, and stories/experiences of program staff, volunteers, and youth. In addition, these podcasts contain important information regarding staff and volunteer skills to help CASA Volunteers advocate for abused and neglected children.
Use this link to access the podcasts: http://podcast.casaforchildren.org/
To access a PDF file with an overview of the podcasts available on the National CASA website, use this link: Natl CASA Podcast List
Documenting Credit Hours
You can now document any in-service training hours on the Optima database. Simply log in (Optima link on bottom of webpage) and select the Training Tab. You can add hours by clicking the green “Add” button under In-Service Trainings. Use the In-Service Training Credit Guidelines to compute your training time and credits. In the “Notes” section, you can rate and evaluate the training.
We are interested in your feedback in order to ensure that we are providing the best training opportunities available. If you prefer paper and pencil, download the Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma form: In-Service Credit form for Individualized Training.doc.
CASA Activity Sheet
All CASA volunteers are required to complete contact logs as they complete case-related activities. You can do this on the Optima database by selecting “Contact Logs” and adding a new contact log. If you prefer paper and pencil, download the form using this link: New Contact Log Pencil and Paper. Once the form is completed form, please give it to your CASA Advocate Coordinator as soon as you complete an activity.
This information is very important. It is kept not only for your tax purposes, but to assist us with matching hours for grant funding. Also, we can show the community the dollar value CASA contributes to our area through these figures. Your assistance with keeping accurate records is most appreciated.
(Note: This New Contact Log is to replace the former CASA Activity Sheet Blank.)
Additional In-Service Training Resources
Did you know that there are number of resources available at the Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma office for your use as in-service training materials. They include books, pamphlets, and videos and are available to be checked out from the Claremore office, which is located on the second floor of the Rogers County Courthouse. Simply stop by to check out one or more of these great resources.
To access a complete list of the materials available, use this link: CANO List of Resource Materials
Additional Resource Links
Listed below are PDF documents and/or links to websites of organizations that have resource materials that may be helpful to you. To access the materials, simply click the title of the article.
SPECIAL NOTE: Please understand that these are not CASA-sponsored websites. Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma is not responsible for the content found on these websites and does not endorse any products sold on the sites.
- A Family Affair: The Science Behind Creating Culinary Masterpieces with Your Young Chef
- Childhood Nutrition Guide
- Motivating Kids to be Active
- Nutrition for Kids: Helping Children Get Off to a Good Start
Mental Health, Illness and Disabilities
- Does My Teen Need Treatment?
- Does My Teen Need Treatment? Part II
- How to Create an Autism-Friendly Environment for Kids
- Mental Illness in Children: Signs, Types, & Causes
- Minding the Kids in Divorce: Minimizing the Mental Health Impact
- Coping with a Child’s Illness While You’re in Recovery: Learn Coping Methods While Going Through this Difficult Time
- Growing Opioid Epidemic Forcing More Children Into Foster Care
- How to Help Yourself and Your Baby When You Discover You Are Pregnant: A Guide for Addicts
The CASA Role
- Advocate Lab
- The Advocate Lab is an online learning space; a resource center for Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteers and other professionals interested in serving children exposed to abuse and neglect in a more effective way. Topics include Aging Out, Diversity, LBGTQ, Mental Health and Medically Complex Children.
- Interviewing Children