The Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program was created to train and supervise diverse volunteers who serve as advocates for children involved in court proceedings primarily as the result of abuse and/or neglect. Sumner County CASA is part of a National CASA network, extending child advocacy services across the country through over 990 programs in all 50 states. There are 27 CASA programs in Tennessee serving clients.
Sumner County CASA began assigning volunteers to serve children in April 1992 and has advocated for over 2,400 children to date. In the 2015-2016 fiscal year, 45 CASA volunteers provided direct service to 171 children, donated over 2,700 hours, trained over 1,000 hours, and drove over 15,000 miles. 19 new CASA volunteers were trained and sworn in during our 2015-2016 fiscal year.
The Sumner County CASA program was initially sponsored by GFWC Woman’s Club of Hendersonville. In addition to private donations, Sumner County CASA receives funding from the State of Tennessee, United Way of Sumner County, Memorial Foundation, Tennessee Bar Foundation, City of Gallatin, City of Hendersonville, The Predators Foundation, The Maddox Foundation, and other private donations and numerous grants
The staff of Sumner County CASA provides occasional informational meetings throughout the county and advertises upcoming training dates in local media. Anyone interested in becoming a CASA volunteer must complete an application, have a pre-training interview, pass a TBI (Tennessee Bureau of Investigation) finger print and national registry check, and initially participate in approximately 30 hours of classroom training, including observation of court hearings.
Classroom training is held four times per year at the CASA office in Gallatin, or individual training with a staff member. Monthly in-service seminars on topics related to child advocacy, child abuse and neglect are provided for volunteers (6 meetings credited at 2 hours per meeting; 12 hours required annually). Upon assignment to a case, the CASA staff and a volunteer mentor are readily available to answer questions and provide support and guidance.
The initial investment is 35 hours of training and you can expect to spend a minimum of ten hours to become the best knowledgeable voice for your child, depending on the case. The volunteers schedule their own meetings with the parties involved.