Questions and Answers

What is a CASA®/GAL?
A Court Appointed Special Advocate/Guardian ad litem volunteer who is screened and trained by the CASA/GAL Program and is then appointed by the Juvenile Court Judge to represent the best interests of a child in Court. Children helped by a CASA/GAL are victims of dependency, neglect and abuse.

What is the role of a CASA/GAL?
Provide a judge or magistrate with a carefully researched background of the child to help the Court make a sound decision about the child's future. Each case is as unique as the child involved. The CASA/GAL must consider if it is in the child's best interest to be with his or her parent(s) or guardian(s), in a foster home, or other placement, or be placed for adoption. The CASA/GAL makes recommendations on placement to the judge or magistrate and follows through on the case until it is resolved.

How does a CASA/GAL investigate a case?
The CASA/GAL gathers information by talking to the child, parents, family members, social workers, school officials and teachers, health care providers, and others who are knowledgeable about the child's history.

How does the role of a CASA/GAL differ from the role of an attorney?
An attorney speaks for what the child wants, as his legal representative, while the CASA/GAL advocates for the best interests of the child.

Is there a "typical" CASA/GAL?
CASA/GAL's are age 21 or over with a minimum of a high school diploma, who come from all walks of life, with a variety of professional, life experiences and ethnic backgrounds. Our program is composed of both male and female volunteers, many of whom hold a full-time or part-time job. Volunteers are screened closely for objectivity, competence, and commitment.

What training does a CASA/GAL receive?
The CASA/GAL Program provides 40 hours of pre-service training and an additional 12 hours of educational trainingannually as required.

How does the CASA/GAL relate to the child?
The CASA/GAL interviews the child if the child is old enough to talk. If not, the CASA/GAL observes the child's interactions with various people involved in his or her life. The CASA/GAL offers the child trust and advocacy and encourages the child to express his or her own opinion and hope.

How many cases does a CASA/GAL carry at a time?
Generally a CASA/GAL volunteer will carry no more than two cases or sibling groups at a time.

How much time does it require to be a CASA/GAL?
Generally a CASA/GAL will spend 10-15 hours a month staying involved with each case until it is resolved.

How does the CASA/GAL Program operate?
The Wood County Court Appointed Special Advocate/Guardian ad litem Program is staffed by a full-time director, a two full time volunteer coordinator and one part-time Office/Recruitment Coordinator. The administrative expenses of the CASA/GAL Program are met through funding from the Wood County Commissioners and is part of the Juvenile Court Budget. In addition, the program receives funding from donations from both public and private sectors in Wood County and various grant funds. The Friends of Wood County CASA non-profit advisory board also provides funding to assist with meeting the needs of volunteer training and recognition and public relations expenses. Victims of Crime (VOCA-federal grant funds,) State Victims Assistance Grant (SVAA-Ohio Funds) and the Department of Youth Services grants (DYS) assist with funding staff positions and training and supply costs.

Do lawyers, judges and caseworkers support CASA/GAL?
Yes. Juvenile and Family Court Judges support utilization of CASA/GAL programs in their courtrooms and appoint volunteers to serve as CASA/GAL. CASA/GAL programs have been endorsed by the American Bar Association, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges,the Ohio Juvenile and Family Court Judges Association, and the National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators.

How does a CASA/GAL differ from a Children’s Services caseworker?

CASA/GAL Volunteer Caseworker
CASA/GAL Program Department of Jobs and Family Services
1-2 Cases 20-30 Cases
Reflects community's perspective Follows state mandates
Recommends to court Recommends to court
Gathers information Investigates situation

Does Wood County CASA/GAL belong to any associations?
Yes. The Wood County CASA/GAL Program is a member of the Ohio Association of Court Appointed Special Advocates/Guardians ad Litem and the National CASA Association. The Ohio CASA/GAL Association certifies the Wood County CASA/GAL program.

How do I get more information about becoming a Wood County CASA/GAL?
Please contact the Wood County Court Appointed Special Advocate/Guardian ad Litem Program at 1032 South Dunbridge, Bowling Green, Ohio 43402. Telephone 419-352-3554; E-mail: casa@co.wood.oh.us.