SMC CASA Volunteer Training: Week 1

My training course to be a CASA Volunteer began last week, at the CASA of San Mateo County (SMC) office in Redwood City, CA. I thought it would be a good idea to share my experience while it happens, so here goes the notes on the first week.

The training consists of ten sessions, twice a week, each three hours long. At the end of each session we receive a survey, over e-mail, where we can give feedback about the content and quality of that session. In addition to these sessions, we need to observe court hearings in person (which takes about two to three hours) to have a raw taste of the reality.

In the first session, we learned what a CASA volunteer is, what role they play in a case, and what is the minimum sufficient level of care that a children needs. At the end of the session, we had a CASA volunteers panel, where some of them talked about their experiences being a CASA, challenges they found along the way, and some of their success stories.

On the second session of the week, in the first half, we had an overview of the Child Welfare System. We learned how a child enters the system, what the court processes are like, who are the system participants, and how juvenile probation works. The second half of this session was a panel with a group of professionals who shared their experiences in the field and answered questions from the attendees.

And finally, we have some reading material to study at home, providing extra details on the topics discussed in the class.

That’s all for the first week and today the second week starts. Looking forward to continue with my training and share more about it!