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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a CASA®/GAL?
A CASA/GAL is a 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?
A CASA/GAL provides the Judge or Magistrate with a carefully researched background of the child to help the Court make a sound decision about the child's future. 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.

Is there a "typical" CASA/GAL?
A CASA/GAL must at least 21 years of age 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. Volunteers are screened closely for objectivity, competence, and commitment. 

How does a CASA/GAL gather information about 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. The CASA/GAL is required to have face-to-face contact with the child each month.

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/her legal representation, while the CASA/GAL advocates for the best interests of the child. 

What training does a CASA/GAL receive?
The CASA/GAL Program provides 30 hours of pre-service training, which includes online and classroom sessions, as well as courtroom observation. Twelve hours of educational training annually is also required.

How does the CASA/GAL relate to the child?
The CASA/GAL visits and interacts with the child and may also observe 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 one or two cases at a time, but it is the volunteer's discretion as to the number of cases to which he/she is appointed.

How much time does it require to be a CASA/GAL?
The time spent will vary depending on the case, number of children, and age of the children, but, generally, a CASA/GAL will spend between 3-10 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, two Volunteer Coordinators and one part-time Recruiter. The program receives funding from donations from both public and private sectors in Wood County, VOCA and state grant funds and some financial support for administrative expenses from the Wood County Juvenile Court and Wood County Commissioners. Funding is also provided to the program by the non-profit Friends of Wood County CASA advisory board.

Do lawyers, judges and caseworkers support CASA/GAL Program?

Yes. Juvenile and family court judges implement the CASA/GAL Program in their courtrooms and appoint volunteers. CASA/GAL programs have been endorsed by the American Bar Association, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, and 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 Job and Family Services
1-2 cases 15-20 cases
Reflects values of community 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.
 
I don’t have the time to be a CASA/GAL now.  Are there other ways I may assist the program?
There are many opportunities to assist the program. Consider becoming a member of the Friends of Wood County CASA non-profit advisory board. Individuals or groups may assist by donating funds or needed items to the program. Groups may plan fund raising events to assist with community awareness and program funding. Purchase an Ohio “Celebrate Kids!” license plate available through the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, which provides funds to local CASA/GAL programs each year.
 
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; Fax 419-352-6084; Email casa@co.wood.oh.us