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Volunteers advocate for children in court system

Kurt Molnar/Nevada Appeal Chris Bayer, director of Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children, says he began volunteering because he cares about children.
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Chris Bayer, director of Court-Appointed Special Advocates, began his career with CASA as a volunteer in 1993. He was promoted to director in 1997.

Bayer said he began volunteering because he cares about children, and he continues to work for CASA because he enjoys working with the volunteers.

“They are a great group of people. We work together, problem-solve ,and support each other. We are definitely driven by our mission, which is to help children through the legal process so that they go on to a safe permanent home,” he said.

What is CASA’s purpose?

CASA of Carson City volunteers are appointed by the city’s Juvenile Court to advocate for children removed from the home due to allegations of abuse and neglect. The organization recruits, trains, and supervises the CASA volunteers. We are an affiliate of the National CASA Association. There are similar organizations in Douglas County, Washoe County and Clark County.

What do CASA volunteers do?

The CASA volunteer gathers information from everyone, reports to the court, and advocates for the best interest of the child. The CASA volunteer also reports the child’s wishes, but these are separate from his or her own recommendations on the child’s best interest.

Is it a paid position?

The legal role is defined in Nevada law as guardian ad litem. The law states that it is not paid.

Why would someone want to be a CASA?

To help children. To give back to the community.

What is the training that’s involved, and are there costs associated with the training?

CASA of Carson City holds a training three times each year. Each training lasts 30 hours, and usually runs one night per week from 6-9 p.m. at the Juvenile Court building. The volunteers learn about the legal system, about child-developmental issues, about the role of the guardian ad litem, about the history of child abuse and neglect law, etc.

What happens when I call with an interest in volunteering?

We will sit down and talk to you. You will fill out an application. And, you will be asked to submit fingerprints for a background check.

If someone is not able to volunteer as a CASA volunteer, what other ways can they help CASA?

CASA of Carson City is a nonprofit organization that is funded in part by a line item in the city’s budget and in part by grants from local service groups, businesses and churches. We can always use a variety of help – everything from fundraising to passing out information on CASA. People should feel free to call us.

Where should people go for more information?

They can call CASA at 882-6776 or visit our Web site at http:/casaofcc.org or e-mail casaofcc@earthlink.net.