Tulsa CASA advocates for abused and neglect children in the court system. CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate.
Tulsa CASA started in 1985 and is part of the national and Oklahoma CASA organizations. CASA trains community volunteers to talk with all the parties on a designated court case - the parents, the children, the caseworkers, and others providing services. CASA volunteers write a court report for the judge that helps to determine permanency for the child, whether they go home to the family they came from or if they are freed for adoption. Executive Director Maura Wilson says Tulsa CASA served 306 children last year with 120 volunteers.
Wilson says that with 1400 children in DHS custody right now, they can always use more volunteers. She explains that these children don't have people in their lives that would typically advocate for them and they need people to tell the court what their wishes are and what is in the child's best interest. Training to be a CASA volunteer is 30 hours, including juvenile court observation. On average volunteers give 10-15 hours per month on their case. Cases vary, Wilson says that she's been involved in a case lasting 6 months and in a case lasting 5 years. On average a case lasts about one year and volunteers are asked for a one year commitment. To learn more about volunteering go to Tulsa CASA's website tulsacasa.org or call their office at 918-584-2272.
In addition to being Court Appointed Special Advocates, there are opportunities to be board members and special events volunteers. Board members are the steering committee for the organization. They plan fundraisers, oversee financials, and help with HR. They meet once a month for an hour in addition to time in other CASA committees. Special events volunteers work on fundraisers and other events.