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National CASA/GAL Volunteer Training Curriculum: Volunteer Manual, Second Edition

NCJ Number
Mary Gratch
Date Published
587 pages
This training curriculum manual was created to provide the skills, knowledge, and attitudes necessary to be a Court Appointed Special Advocate/Guardian Ad Litem Association CASA/GAL volunteer who advocates on the behalf of children involved in the court system needing a voice in court.

The purpose of this training manual is to develop volunteers who are competent, reasonably autonomous, and able to exercise good judgement as CASA/GAL volunteers. Each of the 10 chapters in the manual constitutes a section, and each section includes an introduction and activities for the trainees to participate in with other trainees. There is homework for each session, with the goal of each session and the objectives to be reached at the end of each session being clearly stated at the beginning of each chapter. Topics covered are: introducing the CASA/GAL volunteer role; introducing the law, the child protection system, and the courts; exploring cultural awareness; understanding families in general; understanding families as they relate to the impact of substance abuse/chemical dependency and domestic violence, poverty, and the importance of the family to a child; understanding children; communicating as a CASA/GAL volunteer; practicing the CASA/GAL volunteer role-gathering information; and practicing the CASA/GAL volunteer role-reporting and monitoring. The final chapter pulls it all together and includes topics on building support and self confidence; volunteer safety; getting needed support and supervision; office procedures; and addressing children who, it is emphasized, are the heart of the matter. A glossary includes commonly used medical, psychological, sociological, legal, and educational terms and definitions that apply to child welfare and juvenile court system matters.