COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Franklin County is looking for volunteers to begin training a new class of Court Appointed Special Advocates starting in mid-July.

After a live interview on with Lt. Gov. Jon Husted and Second Lady Tina Husted on their passion for helping kids in foster care, interest in becoming a CASA has grown in Central Ohio.

“[CASA is] currently a department under the Office of Justice Policy and Programs for the Franklin County Board of Commissioners. And what we do is train community volunteers,” CASA of Franklin County Deputy Director Kevin Greenwood said. “We train them in about a 40-hour process. Some of it is online. Some of it is hybrid.”

“Once they’ve completed that training, they are sworn in as officers of the court. They then go out and provide advocacy for children who are in the Franklin County court system, who have suffered abuse and neglect,” he said.

Greenwood says CASAs come from all walks of life with a common interest in helping children with an open heart. It can also be a good option for those who want to help those in the foster care system but cannot commit to bringing one into their home full-time.

“Our advocates are as passionate and as committed, and as caring as anyone can imagine in working with these children, and it is difficult to be a foster parent. But this has the same kind of love for children and appreciation for their dignity and appreciation for their well-being. And so if you think about foster care, but find that it’s overwhelming or not possible for you, this really is a great alternative,” he added.

10 steps to become a CASA:

  1. Must be at least 21
  2. Must successfully pass a screening process and background check
  3. Receives 45 hours of initial training
  4. Must attend 12 hours of in-service training each year
  5. Serves an average of 10-15 hours per month
  6. Conducts an independent investigation on behalf of each child involved in the case
  7. Consults with CASA staff attorneys regarding each case
  8. Submits contact logs, monthly updates, and court reports to the CASA office
  9. Attends all pertinent hearings, reviews, or meetings for each case
  10. Makes a two-year volunteer commitment

Links to foster care resources in Ohio & Franklin County

Watch the full interview with Greenwood in the video player below.