CASA of the River Region has seen a significant decrease in the amount of volunteers applying to the program. This is not unique to us—Gallup recently noted that volunteerism is at 56% of pre-pandemic levels. However, this impacts CASA particularly hard because we cannot do our work without our volunteers. 2022 has been a busy year as things return to some normalcy. People are traveling again, they are using their time in different ways, and we have been isolated from each other during the pandemic.
Here are the top 10 roadblocks to volunteering:
Diversion of children from DNA docket: CASA depends on being appointed cases from the Dependency, Neglect & Abuse docket.
Lack of appointments: CASA cannot serve children without being appointed by a Family Court Judge.
Volunteers may not pick case: New volunteers typically take cases with fewer children or less complicated cases. Some volunteers may find the training overwhelming and decline to continue.
Federal legislation lengthens time in care: Changes in federal legislation lengthen the time children are in out-of-home placements, meaning their cases last longer and need a volunteer for a longer period of time. This limits the volunteer’s ability to serve new children.
Staff changes: Volunteers form close relationships with their supervisors. When staff changes occur, there is a corresponding turnover of volunteers.
Extended case lengths: Potential volunteers are discouraged due to time commitment and length of case, an average of 3.4 years. Many put off being a CASA until kids are older or they retire.
Back to office: As volunteers return to the physical office, decreased flexibility and time are factors in declining volunteerism.
Lack of diversity amongst volunteers
Social worker shortage: Decreases new investigations and slows progress of cases.
Bureaucracy wanes enthusiasm: Volunteer enthusiasm wanes when cases lag or delayed; especially when it is due to the child welfare &/or juvenile justice systems.
Despite these challenges, we need YOU to change a child’s story. If you have known about CASA but not volunteered, we invite you to join our monthly information session (www.casarr.org/casa101).
If you have ever been a volunteer and have considered re-joining, now is a great time. If you know anyone who would be a good volunteer, tell them about CASA and the life-long impact they can have on a child’s life.