Memorandum of Understanding
Jefferson County Circuit Court
Department of Children and Family Services
CASA of Jefferson County
The mission of CASA of Jefferson County is to draw from community resources to provide well-
trained volunteers who will advocate in our court system for abused and neglected children,
provide needed information to the court, and serve these children’s best interests quickly and
Achieving the goal of this program requires the development of a good working relationship
among the Jefferson County Circuit Court, Department of Children and Family Services, private
social service agencies, other professionals and CASA of Jefferson County. This Memorandum
of Understanding identifies and clarifies that relationship.
I. Cases to be referred to the CASA Program
It is agreed that the Judge(s) who occupy the Juvenile bench may refer to CASA of Jefferson
County any abuse or neglect case that they feel may benefit from the appointment of a CASA
II. Role of the CASA Volunteer in Court Proceedings
It is agreed that the role of the CASA volunteer in the court proceedings will adhere to the
“Friend of the Court Model” as follows:
Any party may request the services of a CASA volunteer (court, GAL, social services
caseworker, respondent parent attorney). The request goes to the Juvenile Court Judge who may
refer the request to the CASA office, which suggests a particular volunteer. Through a form, the
CASA volunteer is appointed directly by the court as an officer to conduct information gathering
as the parties would if time permitted. He or she is an information gatherer, obtaining all
relevant facts about the child and the case; an advocate to ensure that those facts are brought
before the court through reports presented to the court with copies to case parties and attorneys;
and a facilitator, to ensure that all fulfill their legal obligations to the child in a timely manner.
The CASA in this model is an objective, independent third party who appears at court to answer
questions as needed and/or to make recommendations based on the information in the written
report. Through a form, the court must dismiss the CASA from a case to which he or she has
III. Duration of Appointment
It is agreed that when CASA volunteers have been trained and are ready for service, the Court
will conduct swearing in ceremonies, appointing the CASA volunteers as Officers of the Court.
This appointment will remain in effect until such time as the CASA volunteer’s service is
IV. Volunteer Qualifications, Training, and Supervision
It is agreed that CASA volunteers will be qualified, trained, and supervised as follows:
A. A CASA volunteer must be at least twenty five years old, have successfully passed
screening requirements, which include a written application, personal interview,
reference, criminal record, and a Department of Children and Family Services
B. A CASA volunteer must have successfully completed a minimum of thirty hours of
initial training that includes instruction on the court and child welfare system; child
abuse and neglect; relevant state and federal laws; permanency planning and family
preservation; and the role and responsibility of a CASA volunteer.
C. A CASA volunteer must have made an oath not to engage in activities which
jeopardize the safety of the child(ren), the integrity of the CASA program or the
objectivity of the CASA volunteer; or activities that are likely to result in conflict of
interest or expose program or volunteer to criminal or civil liability.
D. A staff member from the CASA program will accompany the CASA volunteer
during court proceedings and will substitute for the volunteer if the volunteer is
unable to appear.
E. The CASA advocate will prepare an unbiased report for each Court hearing that
includes all of the information gathered on the case.
F. The CASA program and the Court will maintain open, constructive, and effective
communication regarding the performances of the CASA volunteers.
G. The Court will participate in the training of CASA volunteers by assisting in
teaching the CASA volunteers about the juvenile court system.
H. DCFS will also participate in the training of CASA volunteers by assisting in
teaching the CASA volunteers about child protection services.
V. Assignment of CASA Volunteers
It is agreed that assignment of volunteers to court cases will be done as follows:
A. The Court will identify cases for which the assignment of a CASA volunteer is
desired. Cases will be identified for referral at the earliest possible stage or at any
time the Court deems appropriate. A CASA of Jefferson County Referral Form will
be sent to the CASA office.
B. Contingent upon the availability of a volunteer appropriate for the case, the CASA
program will assign a CASA volunteer and will notify the Court of the assignment.
The Court will issue an order confirming the assignment of the CASA volunteer.
This order will include a specific order allowing the CASA volunteer full access to
any and all information and material relevant to the child(ren)’s case.
VI. Communication Between the Court and the CASA Program
It is agreed that the Court, DCFS and the CASA program will maintain open lines of
communication with one another and within their own organizations to support the effective
management and operations of the CASA program, and, to the fullest extent possible, will
coordinate and cooperate in all matters pertaining to the implementation and operation of the
This Statement of Understanding between the Court, DCFS and the CASA program has been
reviewed and accepted the management and the governing bodies of the organizations indicated
Resident Judge, Jefferson County Circuit Court Date
President of CASA of Jefferson County Date
Executive Director, CASA of Jefferson County Date
Director, DCFS Date