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CENTRAL VALLEY CASA

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					PROGRAM POLICIES & PROCEDURES

                FOR

  CASA VOLUNTEER ADVOCATES




        Revised & Approved 2/09
                                   Table of Contents

Policy Definitions………………………………………………………………………………………..………3


Mission Statement……………………………………………………….……………………………..………3


Policy—Volunteer Advocates’ Qualifications & Acceptance Procedures…………..………………….....4


Policy—Responsibility of Volunteer Advocates……………….…………..………...…………...………….6


Policy—Volunteer Advocate Driving Policy………………………..…………………………………………8


Policy—Case Assignment Process……………………………………………………………………………9


Policy—Volunteer Advocate Caseload……………..………………………………………………………..10


Policy—Staff/Volunteer Advocate Caseload…………………..…………………………………………….10


Policy—Standards of Conduct………………………………………………………………………………...10


Policy—Addressing Safety Concerns for Volunteer Advocates………..………………….………………11


Policy—Grievance Procedures for Volunteer Advocates……..……………………………………………11


Policy—Equal Opportunity Policy………………………………..………………………….…..……………12




                                                                           CASA for Children     2
                                                             Program Policies & Procedures for
                                                                             CASA Volunteers
I. POLICY DEFINITIONS
The following words and terms, when used in these regulations, shall apply unless the context clearly
indicates otherwise:

1. CASA means Court Appointed Special Advocate

2. CASA Program means the CASA for Children of Augusta, Staunton, Waynesboro, Lexington and
   Rockbridge program, which utilizes court-appointed volunteers to assist in judicial proceedings
   involving allegations that a child is abused, neglected, in need of services, or in need of
   supervision, and for whom the Judge determines such services are appropriate

3. Case means a child or sibling group referred to the CASA program

4. DCJS means the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services

5. DCJS Board means the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services Board

6. CASA Board means the CASA for Children Board of Directors

7. Executive Director means the staff director of the CASA for Children program

8. Volunteer Supervisor means the staff supervisor of Volunteer Advocates and coordinator for
   Advocate related activities for the CASA for Children program

9. Volunteer Recruiter/Trainer means the staff member responsible for recruiting, interviewing,
   training (initial & in-services) and inducting Volunteer Advocates

10. Volunteer Advocate means the volunteer serving as the Court Appointed Special Advocate



II. CASA FOR CHILDREN MISSION STATEMENT
The mission of CASA for Children is to provide trained Volunteer Advocates to
represent the best interests of abused and neglected children who are involved in the
Augusta, Staunton, Waynesboro, Lexington and Rockbridge juvenile courts and to
expedite their placements in safe, permanent and nurturing homes.




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                                                                         Program Policies & Procedures for
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III. POLICY—VOLUNTEER ADVOCATES’ QUALIFICATIONS & ACCEPTANCE PROCEDURES
A. Qualifications
        1. Applicant must be 21 years of age.
        2. Applicant must be in good standing in the community.
        3. Applicants must have the ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing,
            sufficient to prepare court reports and to provide testimony.
        4. Applicants must possess objectivity, a high degree of responsibility, and sufficient time to
            assist in advocating for the best interests of a child.
        5. Applicants must be able to relate to persons of different cultures, ethnic backgrounds, and
            various socio-economic statuses.
        6. No applicant with a criminal record of any kind, other than for minor traffic infractions, will
            be eligible to serve as a Volunteer Advocate, except upon the recommendation of the
            Executive Director and approval of the Board.

B. Application
        1. Each applicant must complete and submit written Advocate Application containing
            information about education and employment, as well as contact information for three
            references.
        2. Each applicant must complete and submit the Prospective Advocate Questionnaire
            containing information about commitments, volunteer experience, and experience with
            child abuse and neglect.

C. Pre-Training Screening of Applicants
       1. Each applicant will participate in a pre-training interview with CASA staff.
       2. Each applicant will complete and have notarized by CASA staff a criminal record check
           and a Child Protective Services (OASIS) record check.
       3. Each applicant must distribute 3 personal references for return of persons who know
           applicant’s abilities on a professional or volunteer basis, including employers, co-workers,
           educators, Volunteer Supervisors, or other professionals.
       4. Each applicant will receive and read the CASA for Children Policies & Procedures for
           CASA Volunteer Advocates.

D. Volunteer Advocate Training
       1. Each eligible applicant will complete 36 hours of training. The training may either consist
           of 12 three hour sessions or an Independent Study Edition which will consist of 4 three
           hour sessions and homework assignments. Failure to complete all 36 hours will result in
           rejection of the applicant.
       2. Each eligible applicant will complete a minimum of 1 (one) hour of observation in a
           Juvenile and Domestic Relations court, accompanied by a CASA staff member. Failure to
           complete 1 hour will result in rejection of the applicant.
       3. Each eligible applicant will complete a court report on the CASA for Children training case
           covered during the training sessions.
       4. Missed Training Policy: Each eligible applicant will miss NO MORE than two training
           classes if participating in 12 three hour sessions or NO MORE than one training class if
           participating in an Independent Study Edition. In case of a missed training class, the
           eligible applicant will complete the following:
                I. Notify the CASA staff of anticipated absence in advance, if possible.
                II. Complete all reading assignments and activities from CASA training manual, as
                    assigned by CASA staff.
                III. Assignments will be kept in the Initial Training Records file for audit purposes.

E. Post-Training Volunteer Advocate Screening
       1. Each eligible applicant must complete a post-training survey.
       2. Each eligible applicant must complete a post-training questionnaire integrating training
           knowledge on being an effective advocate.
       3. Each eligible applicant must complete a post-training interview with CASA staff, at which
           time the individual’s ability to advocate, their post-training questionnaire, and any further
           questions or concerns will be discussed.

F. Acceptance and Induction of Volunteer Advocates
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                                                                            Program Policies & Procedures for
                                                                                            CASA Volunteers
        1. Each eligible applicant must complete the following activities prior to acceptance as a
           Volunteer Advocate:
           a. Successful completion of 36 hours of training or Independent Study Edition
           b. Obtain 1 hour of court observation
           c. Successful completion of training case court report
           d. Verification of references
           e. Completion of criminal background check
           f. Completion of CPS record check
           g. Submission of Acknowledgement Statement regarding the CASA Volunteer Policies &
               Procedures
           h. Successful completion of post-interview
      2.   Any exceptions to the above criteria must be approved by the Executive Director prior to
           acceptance of the eligible applicant.
      3.   Upon acceptance as a Volunteer Advocate, each person will be inducted and sworn in by
           a local judge in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.

G. Continuing Education Requirements for Volunteer Advocates
     1. Beginning one year after her/his induction date, each Volunteer Advocate with an active or
         inactive status must participate in a minimum of 12 hours of continuing education annually
         as provided by CASA staff. This continuing education may be in-service programs provided
         directly or indirectly by the CASA program. The staff must approve all training not
         conducted or sponsored directly by CASA for Children for its suitability.
     2. CASA for Children shall offer a minimum of 12 hours of in-service training annually. The
         training will be designed to maintain and improve the Volunteer Advocate’s level of
         knowledge and skill. Special attention shall be given to informing the Volunteer Advocate’s
         about changes in the law, local court proceedings, local agency practices and CASA
         program policies & development.

H. Performance Reviews
     1. All Volunteer Advocates will receive a written performance review once a year.
     2. All Volunteer Advocates will receive a survey form annually by which they can evaluate the
         CASA for Children program.
     3. All Volunteer Advocates shall be given the opportunity for an exit interview prior to leaving
         the CASA program.

I. Resignation of Volunteer Advocates
      1. All Volunteer Advocates shall complete their commitment of one-year time on their assigned
          case.
      2. If a Volunteer Advocate is unable to complete their commitment she/he should:
            a. Immediately notify the Volunteer Supervisor of their inability to fulfill her/his duties.
            b. Return all case information, including Volunteer Advocate case file, all notes, and the
                CASA badge.
            c. Complete a Statement of CASA Status form and return it to the CASA office.
            d. Cease all contact as the Volunteer Advocate with parties of the case upon stating
                resignation. If the Volunteer Advocate wishes to continue contact as a friend with the
                family following resignation, it should be at the request of the parents and child(ren)
                and should be done so in a non-enabling manner. (See Code of Ethics policy that
                follows)

J. Dismissal of Volunteer Advocates
      1. Grounds for dismissal are as follows:
            a. Taking action without the CASA for Children program’s approval or court approval,
                which endangers the child and/or is outside the role or powers of the CASA program.
            b. Violating a program policy, court rule or law.
            c. Demonstrating the inability to carry out effectively CASA duties.
            d. Failing to complete required in-service training.
            e. Falsifying the Volunteer Advocate application or misrepresenting facts during the
                training process.
      2. The Executive Director and/or the Board of Directors reserve the right in any circumstance to
          dismiss a Volunteer Advocate, if in their sole discretion they deem it in the best interest of
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                                                                          Program Policies & Procedures for
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          the program to do so.

IV. POLICY—RESPONSIBILITY OF VOLUNTEER ADVOCATES
A. Pursuant to Virginia law, Title 9.1, Chapter 1, Article 5, Sections 151-157, the Volunteer Advocate’s
duties shall include:
    1.    Investigating the case to which he is assigned to provide independent factual information to
          the court.
    2.    Submitting to the court a written report of his investigation in compliance with the provisions
          of Code of Virginia Sections 16.1-274. The report may, upon the request of the court,
          include recommendations as to the child’s welfare.
    3.    Monitoring the case to which he is assigned to ensure compliance with the court’s orders.
    4.    Assisting any appointed Guardian ad Litem to represent the child in providing effective
          representation of the child’s needs and best interests.
    5.    Reporting a suspected abused or neglected child pursuant to Sections 63.2-1509.

B. Key components and specific duties of Volunteer Advocates
   1. Investigation
           a. Upon initial assignment, the Volunteer Advocate will review the Case Action Plan as
               prepared by the Volunteer Supervisor and determine with the Volunteer Supervisor
               his/her course of action.
           b. The Volunteer Advocate will meet with professionals involved in the child’s life such as
               the DSS representative(s), Guardian ad Litem, teachers, counselors, and pediatrician
               to document case history. The Volunteer Advocate will cooperate with and assist
               professionals where appropriate. The Volunteer Advocate will share information
               regarding his/her case only with appropriate professionals.
           c. The Volunteer Advocate will conduct interviews with the CASA child(ren). However,
               he/she is strictly prohibited from questioning or inquiring of the child(ren)
               information regarding a precipitating incident or allegation of abuse and
               neglect.
           d. The Volunteer Advocate will conduct home visits—consisting of both announced and
               unannounced home visits.
           e. The Volunteer Advocate will remain in monthly contact with the Volunteer Supervisor
               to review the case and plan a course of action for further interviews and home visits.
           f. The Volunteer Advocate will complete and submit a copy of the Background
               Information Form to the Volunteer Supervisor for the office file within 30 days of
               his/her assignment.

    2. Facilitation
             a. The Volunteer Advocate shall participate in and/or coordinate any planning or
                  treatment team meetings involving the child in order to keep informed of the child’s
                  permanent plan.
             b. The Volunteer Advocate will be required to contact the DSS fostercare caseworker
                  35-45 days prior to the Initial Fostercare Hearing (if she/he was assigned the case
                  within that timeframe) to discuss the case and provide the caseworker with all
                  information gathered (family background form, observations from announced and
                  unannounced visits, etc.) The purpose of the meeting will be to collaborate with the
                  fostercare caseworker and provide him/her with information that will assist him/her in
                  preparing the initial fostercare plan. (Social workers must submit fostercare plans 30
                  calendar days prior to a hearing.) It is preferable that he/she meet in person with the
                  fostercare caseworker, and ensures that the GAL has been invited to the meeting. It
                  is suggested that the Volunteer Advocate schedule this appointment during her/his
                  initial contact with the fostercare caseworker. It is also expected that the Volunteer
                  Advocate will contact the social worker 3-5 days prior to all court hearings to review
                  the case and to share any last minute information.
             c. All written & verbal correspondence from CASA to DSS staff that include concerns or
                  questions about foster parents need to be screened by CASA staff first. We will
                  simply be reviewing the material for potential misinterpretations. Our response will be
                  prompt. Written correspondence that involves scheduling matters or case
                  updates/observations can be forwarded directly to social workers and copied to
                  CASA staff.
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                                                                           Program Policies & Procedures for
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            d. Volunteer Advocates will be required to either meet in person or make contact via
               phone or email with the GAL 3 to 5 days prior to court dates. It is suggested that
               she/he schedule the appointments with the GAL in advance.
            e. The Volunteer Advocate will determine if a permanent plan has been created for the
               child, and whether appropriate services, including reasonable efforts, are being
               provided to the child and family.

  3.    Advocacy: The Volunteer Advocate will assure that the child’s best interests are being
        represented at every stage of the case by attending court hearings and submitting a written
        report to the court.

  4.    Monitoring
           a. The Volunteer Advocate shall monitor the case by visiting the child as often as
                necessary to observe whether the child’s essential needs are being met, and whether
                the court orders are being fulfilled. The minimum contact per month shall consist of
                one (1) in-person contact. However, if the child resides out of the community, the
                minimum contact shall consist of in-person contact every other month and one (1)
                monthly phone contact.
           b. The Volunteer Advocate shall remain actively involved in the case until formally
                discharged by the court and the Volunteer Supervisor.

  5.    The Volunteer Advocate will contact the Volunteer Supervisor promptly if he/she is unable to
        fulfill any of the above responsibilities in order to ensure that the child’s best interest is
        protected.

C. Documentation Responsibilities
  1. The Volunteer Advocate Case File
           a. The Volunteer Advocate is responsible for maintaining a confidential, personal case
               file.
           b. The Volunteer Advocate will keep written records of all oral contacts. This record will
               include the date, individual’s name, location of contact, and a summary of the
               communication. The advocate may retain this written record in their home file. The
               Volunteer Advocate will keep all documents received regarding the case in his/her
               home file. When requesting documents such as medical, academic, psychological
               reports, he/she should ask that originals reports be submitted to the CASA office (via
               fax or mail), whenever possible. Upon receipt, the Volunteer Supervisor will promptly
               provide the volunteer advocate with a copy. In the event that the Volunteer Advocate
               directly receives documents (because of the size of the document or easy access),
               he/she should provide a copy to the CASA office immediately for our records

  2. CASA Court Reports
          a. Volunteer Advocates are required to submit a court report for the Fostercare Review
             Hearing and the Permanency Planning Hearing(s) as long as they have been
             assigned to the case a minimum of 75 days prior to the hearing. (The need for the
             submission of a court report for non-fostercare hearings will be determined by CASA
             staff. However, similar to fostercare cases, if a court report is required by staff, the
             Volunteer Advocate will have been assigned to the case a minimum of 75 days prior
             to the hearing.)
          b. The Volunteer Supervisor shall provide the Volunteer Advocate with a drafted version
             of the court report utilizing the CASA for Children Court Report Format no less than 60
             calendar days prior to the court report due date, and indicate in the draft version what
             information needs to be obtained. The Volunteer Advocate will gather this
             information and meet with the Volunteer Supervisor in person 30 days before the
             court report deadline. The Volunteer Advocate will present his/her edited court report
             to the Volunteer Supervisor for review, and they will review the case and develop any
             additional case action plans.
          c. The Volunteer Supervisor shall submit the prepared court report 7 calendar days prior
             to the court report deadline to the Executive Director for final review. If the Volunteer
             Advocate submits the report late, CASA staff may need to make edits without the

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                                                                          Program Policies & Procedures for
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               Volunteer Advocate’s input. The Volunteer Advocate will be supplied with a copy of
               the final report.
            d. The Volunteer Supervisor will submit the court report to the clerk of the court no less
               than 15 calendar days prior to the court hearing.

            All court reports must be submitted by Volunteer Advocate’s on time. This
            submission policy is designed to protect everyone’s due process rights, including the
            CASA child’s. If a party to the case needs to subpoena a witness, he/she needs to do so
            10 calendar days before the court date. Essentially, by CASA submitting our reports 15
            calendars early, we allow time for an attorney and/or parent to contest statements in the
            CASA report by subpoenaing witnesses to testify on his/her behalf.

    3. Volunteer Advocate Monthly Reports
           a. The Volunteer Advocate shall prepare a monthly activity report. The Volunteer
               Advocate must utilize the CASA for Children Monthly Advocate Activity Report
               Format, which captures the following data:
                  i. Case name
                  ii. Volunteer Advocate’s name
                  iii. Reporting month
                  iv. Dates of Contact
                  v. Type of Activity (Visit, Phone call, Meeting, Documentation, Hearing, etc)
                  vi. Brief Description of Activity (The details are to be kept in Volunteer Advocate’s
                        notes)
                  vii. Amount of time spent on specific activity
                  viii. Amount of mileage traveled for specific activity
                  ix. Total minutes spent on case during month
                  x. Total mileage for month
                                                                                                st  st
           b. The monthly report shall include activities conducted in monthly increments (1 -31 ).
           c. A separate monthly report shall be submitted for each case assignment.
           d. The report should include only case related activities such as direct casework,
               indirect casework (travel, waiting at court, preparing monthly report, meetings)
               and meetings/phone calls with CASA staff. The monthly report shall NOT include
               the following: training/in-service activities, fundraising, committee involvement or
               socials.
           e. The monthly reports are due in the CASA office no later than the 3rd of the following
               month. They may be faxed, mailed, e-mailed or delivered to the office. If mailed,
                                                     st
               they must be postmarked by the 1 of each month. Verbal reports may be submitted
               as a means of last resort, but they must be followed promptly by written record of
               activity.
           f. For each Volunteer Advocate who submits on time, he/she will have his/her name
               entered in a monthly drawing which will be held to reward one volunteer per month.

    4. CASA Word Processing Format
          a. CASA for Children utilizes Microsoft Word for all word processing purposes and all
             forms will be formatted in this way.
          b. CASA for Children has licensed copies of Microsoft Office that can be distributed to
             Volunteer Advocates for use on their CASA documentation responsibilities.
          c. If a Volunteer Advocate does not have access to Microsoft Word, it is his/her
             responsibility to notify CASA staff in a timely manner.

V. POLICY—ADVOCATE DRIVING POLICY
A. CASA for Children Volunteer Advocates may have the option to transport the child from their
assigned case when all of the following criteria are met:

    1. If at the time of appointment or during an appointment to a case, it is determined and
       approved by CASA staff that the child’s best interests would be better served by his/her
       Volunteer Advocate if he/she provided transportation.
    2. If approved by CASA staff, the Volunteer Advocate will fill out the DMV Information Request
       form. The Volunteer Supervisor will check his/her DMV driving record.

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                                                                          Program Policies & Procedures for
                                                                                          CASA Volunteers
    3. Upon receipt and approval of the driving record, the Volunteer Advocate will provide written
       proof of valid automobile insurance indicating at least minimum policy limits as required by
       Virginia law and will sign the Statement to Inform CASA for Children of Future Driving Record
       Changes, which is an agreement to inform CASA of any future violations of state traffic laws,
       restrictions on or loss of license or any lapses or termination of automobile insurance.
       Documentation of this will be kept in the Volunteer Advocate’s file.
    4. The Volunteer Supervisor will send the Permission to Transport form to the child’s custodian
       for a signature. The Volunteer Advocate is not to transport the child without consent from the
       legal custodian.
    5. The Volunteer Advocate is required to abide by all of the motor vehicle laws and regulations of
       the Commonwealth of Virginia, including but not limited to, seatbelt and child safety seat laws
       and regulations. Approval of the Volunteer Advocate’s driving record is not a warranty of
       his/her skill or safety in operating a motor vehicle.

B. Volunteer Advocates who do not meet the requirements described above are not authorized
by CASA for Children to transport children that CASA is serving.

C. CASA for Children’s general liability insurance, VARISK2 Plan, provides coverage for a Volunteer
Advocate or employee using his or her personal vehicle on official business. Volunteer Advocates are
hereby notified that their personal auto insurance is the primary insurance coverage for any liability
arising out of a vehicle accident involving the Volunteer Advocate. It is the Volunteer Advocate’s
responsibility to assure that the auto insurance policy includes the activity of operating the motor
vehicle in the course of one’s duties as a Volunteer Advocate. VARISK2 does not cover leased autos
or autos obtained or used under a contract.

VI. POLICY—CASE ASSIGNMENT PROCESS
A. Acceptance & Prioritization of Cases
    1. Upon referral by the court, the Volunteer Supervisor will review the court file. CASA staff will
       then review it and determine the case’s suitability in accordance with the CASA mission
       statement. If the case is accepted, the CASA staff will conduct a case priority assessment.
       Cases will be assigned with those of greatest need being given the highest priority.
    2. CASA staff will maintain a Case Priority Assessment form.
    3. Recommendations by social workers, Judges, GALs or other parties could influence the
       assessment.

B. Assignment of Volunteer Advocate
   1. The CASA staff will select a Volunteer Advocate after giving consideration to the type of case,
       the Volunteer Advocate’s experience, preferences, and personal circumstances.
   2. Case assignment process:
           a. The Volunteer Supervisor will discuss the case with the Volunteer Advocate to
               determine that no conflict of interest exists and that the Volunteer Advocate is
               available and interested in service.
           b. The Volunteer Advocate will sign a Confidentiality Statement and a Commitment form
               agreeing to work on the case until formally discharged by the court and Volunteer
               Supervisor. The Volunteer Advocate, however, may ask to be relieved of the case
               after one year, or, if for good cause, at any time.
           c. The Volunteer Advocate will be supplied with a Case File, which he/she is to maintain.
               This file will include the following materials:
               i. Copy of the Court Order assigning the Appointment of CASA
               ii. Copy of the Case Background Information form
               iii. Copy of the Monthly Activity Report form
               iv. Copies of Court Orders in case
               v. Copies of Release of Information forms for parents
               vi. Copy of Case Action Plan

VII. POLICY—VOLUNTEER ADVOCATE CASELOAD
To ensure the proper management of and quality services for cases, and to ensure adequate support
of Volunteer Advocates to prevent case work overload, the maximum caseload to which a volunteer
may be assigned at any one time is no more than two children or two sibling groups. If more than two
(2) cases are to be assigned, the rationale must be recommended by the Executive Director, approved
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                                                                           Program Policies & Procedures for
                                                                                           CASA Volunteers
by the Board, and submitted to and approved by DCJS prior to assignment.

VIII. POLICY—STAFF/VOLUNTEER ADVOCATE RATIO
To ensure proper supervision of Volunteer Advocates, the maximum number of volunteers to be
supervised by each staff person shall not exceed one full-time equivalent staff to 30 volunteers who
are assigned to active cases. This ratio is reduced according to the number of hours the volunteer
supervisor may be assigned to administrative or other responsibilities. A request shall be submitted to
DCJS for approval should that ratio exceed 1:30.

IX. POLICY—STANDARDS OF CONDUCT
A. Code of Ethics
    1. Volunteer Advocates should conduct themselves in a professional manner, adhering to a code
       of ethics that is consistent with ethical principles established by local, state or national
       guidelines.
    2. Volunteer Advocates should not become inappropriately involved in the case by providing
       direct service delivery to any parties that could: 1) lead to a conflict of interest or liability
       problems, or 2) cause a child or family to become dependent on the Volunteer Advocate for
       services which should be provided by other agencies or organizations. Examples of
       inappropriate practices are:
           a. Taking a child home or sheltering a child in your home
           b. Transporting a child without approval by CASA staff
           c. Giving legal advice or therapeutic counseling
           d. Making placement arrangements for the child without consultation with DSS
           e. Giving money or expensive gifts to the child or family
           f. Acting as a supervisor for supervised visitation
    3. Volunteer Advocates should develop a general understanding of the code of ethics of other
       professions with whom he/she will be working.
    4. Any inquiries by members of the media or press should be handled by referring them to the
       Executive Director. The Volunteer Advocate will not, without explicit authority from the
       Executive Director, represent himself/herself as a spokesperson for the organization.

B. Confidentiality
    1. The CASA program will receive a signed statement of confidentiality from each Volunteer
       Advocate to ensure the privacy of the children and families served.
    2. The CASA Case Files are extremely confidential. Volunteer Advocates commit to maintaining
       the CASA Case Files in their homes in a secure, preferably locked, location.
    3. Volunteer Advocates are to guard their confidential conversations involving the cases.
       Primarily, they may only discuss their cases with the CASA staff, GALs and DSS Social
       Workers. They should seek guidance from CASA staff regarding communications with all
       other parties and/or refer to their training manual materials for assistance.

C. Conflict of Interest
   1. The Volunteer Advocate should not be related to any parties involved in the case.
   2. The Volunteer Advocate should not be assigned to any cases in which he/she has any
       professional connection or close, personal relationship with a child and/or a family member.
   3. The Volunteer Advocate should not be employed in a position and/or agency that might result
       in a conflict of interest to any parties involved in the case.

D. Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect
The procedures set forth below shall be followed to define the Volunteer Advocate’s responsibility for
the reporting of suspected child abuse and neglect to ensure maximum protection of children served:
     1. Reporting Suspected Child Abuse/Neglect
             a. If knowledge of suspected abuse/neglect is obtained during working hours, the report
                 shall be made first to CASA staff and then to local Department of Social Services
                 (CPS unit). If CASA staff is unavailable, the report is to be made directly to CPS
                 immediately.
             b. If knowledge of suspected abuse/neglect is obtained after working hours or on
                 weekend or holidays, the report shall be made first to CASA staff and then to the Child
                 Abuse and Neglect Hotline for the Department of Social Services (1-800-552-7096). If
                 CASA staff is unavailable, the report is to be made directly to CPS immediately.
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                                                                          Program Policies & Procedures for
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            c.  If a local DSS employee is suspected of abuse/neglect, the report shall be made first
                to the CASA staff and then to the Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court in the county
                where the abuse/neglect occurred.
           d. All reports of suspected abuse/neglect must be reported within 72 hours of the
                incident.
      2. Reporting Imminent Danger Situations
           a. In situations involving imminent danger to the child, the Volunteer Advocate will
                contact the police department immediately.
           b. The Volunteer Advocate will document factual events, including the date, time, place,
                persons involved, what actions were taken and what persons were contacted.
           c. The Volunteer Advocate will then contact the CASA staff and local Department of
                Social Services.
      3. Mandatory reporting: Volunteer Advocates, as officers of the court, are considered
      “mandatory reporters” by law and, therefore, law requires completion of all above-mentioned
      procedures.

X. POLICY—ADDRESSING SAFETY FOR VOLUNTEER ADVOCATES
Though it has not been the experience of CASA for Children that Volunteer Advocates have faced
situations that jeopardize their safety, it is still the concern of CASA for Children that all necessary
precautions are taken to ensure that Volunteer Advocates are not put in a position that endangers
their well-being while still ensuring case confidentiality.

A. The following steps are to be taken if a Volunteer Advocate is concerned with his/her safety while
performing the responsibilities of their position:
      1. CASA staff recommends that the Volunteer Advocates take a cellular phone with them, if
          possible, on all case-related activities.
      2. The Volunteer Advocate can inform the Volunteer Supervisor of the time and date of an
          activity prior to its execution.
      3. The Volunteer Advocate can contact CASA staff immediately before the activity to let staff
          know when it should conclude, and then contact staff immediately following the activity.
          Staff will then know if said activity is lasting longer than anticipated and will take the
          necessary steps to ensure the Volunteer Advocate’s safety.
      4. The Volunteer Advocate can request that CASA staff accompany them on any activity that
          makes them legitimately fearful of their safety.

B. The following actions shall be taken if a Volunteer Advocate’s safety is endangered in the process
of completing their responsibilities to CASA:
      1. The Volunteer Advocate is to notify CASA staff immediately following the incident if their
          safety is threatened.
      2. The Volunteer Advocate and/or CASA staff are to notify the police and/or emergency
          personnel if the situation justifies such action.

XI. POLICY—GRIEVANCE PROCEDURES FOR VOLUNTEER ADVOCATES
Every effort should be made to solve problems cooperatively and informally before presenting them as
formal grievances. Informal complaints are expected to follow the logical chain-of-command, i.e.
Volunteer Supervisor Executive DirectorBoard President. If it appears that this procedure was not
followed, upon receiving the complaint, the complainant will be directed to discuss his/her issue with
the appropriate staff member. Should informal efforts fail, the following policy is set forth in order to
provide an outlet for complaints and a systematic way to resolve the matter. All complaints will receive
thoughtful consideration and will be discussed with the individual who raises them. Complaints may
arise from external or internal sources. The policy below exists to address concerns effectively and
timely so as not to distract the program from its overall mission to serve the children.

      1. The complainant will notify the Executive Director with the complaint. The complainant will
         be supplied with a grievance form promptly and given 30 days to submit the grievance. If a
         complaint form is not submitted within 30 days, the grievance is considered no longer
         requiring action. Upon receipt of the completed grievance form, the appropriate CASA staff
         will work with the complainant toward a resolution.
      2. If the complainant has attempted to resolve a grievance utilizing the steps outlined above
         without resolution, he/she may file his/her complaint with the President of the CASA for
                                                                                           CASA for Children     11
                                                                             Program Policies & Procedures for
                                                                                             CASA Volunteers
           Children Board of Directors. The President will work with the complainant, appropriate
           CASA staff and pertinent parties toward resolution.

XII. POLICY—EQUAL OPPORTUNITY POLICY
It is the policy of CASA for Children that it will not discriminate against any applicant to serve as a
Volunteer Advocate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, national origin, disability, sexual
orientation, or any other basis made illegal by the laws of the United States or the State of Virginia.

The goal of our program is to continue to have a diversified pool of Volunteer Advocates balanced in
gender, culture, and ethnicity that is reflective of the diversity within our community. We specifically
seek prospective Volunteer Advocates who provide the balance we need.




File: ExecutiveDirector/MyDocs/Policy&Procedures/VolPolicyRevised2-09




                                                                                          CASA for Children     12
                                                                            Program Policies & Procedures for
                                                                                            CASA Volunteers

				
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