ProKids CASA University

ProKids CASA Volunteers are trained in our CASA University, where they learn how to make a difference in a child’s life.

The first year-round training program of its kind, CASA University has served as a model for more than 900 CASA organizations nationwide. The flexible schedule allows potential CASA Volunteers to start training immediately. Volunteers receive a comprehensive training manual and classes are offered during the day and in the evening. You can complete training in as few as seven weeks or across six months.

During training, we conduct a personal interview as well as extensive background and reference checks.

CASA University was awarded the 2003 Ohio Attorney General Promising Practice Award, which recognizes the outstanding services of an Ohio organization that empowers victims of crime.

The curriculum includes the following, which can be taken in any order. After being set up for training by Stephanie Kuzma, participants sign up on the calendar.

The CASA Role

The goal of this session is to introduce participants to the role and responsibilities of a CASA Volunteer. Participants will become familiar with ProKids’ mission statement and Volunteer Policy and Procedure ManualActivities will focus on relationship boundaries with children and families.

The Hamilton County Job & Family Services Child Protection System

This class will focus on familiarizing participants with Hamilton County Job and Family Services, including its structure, program, various paperwork, staff and location.  It will also focus on establishing a good working relationship with caseworkers.

The Law/The Child Protection Process

The goal of this class is to familiarize participants with how child protection cases flow through Hamilton County Juvenile Court. Participants will learn about terms they will hear, who will be participating, and the structure of various types of hearings. Participants will also become familiar with some juvenile laws and where to go for help with legal questions.

Understanding Families

Volunteers learn a strengths-based approach to understanding families and children. Discussion will include identifying strengths, stressors, risk factors and resources within families, as well as understanding how poverty impacts families.

Family Violence, Trauma & Toxic Stress

Volunteers will explore the significant impact that toxic stress has on families and children.

Communicating and Gathering Information as a CASA Volunteer

Volunteers will practice communication skills for interviewing, working with others and dealing with conflict. Participants will increase their level of understanding of confidentiality issues.

Substance Abuse

Volunteers will gain an understanding of FAIR, Family Access to Integrated Recovery. In particular, participants will consider the issue of substance abuse and how this issue impacts families.

Exploring Cultural Awareness

Volunteers become familiar with the current thinking regarding cultural awareness, cultural diversity, and the adverse effects of bias and discrimination.

Child Abuse & Neglect

Volunteers will better understand the risk factors and indicators associated with child abuse and neglect.

Understanding Children

Volunteers will focus on child development, attachment, separation, and resiliency.

Education Advocacy

The goal of this class is to learn about educational issues for children. Participants will familiarize themselves with educational terms and the referral process for special education services.

Placement Options

Participants will learn the various types of placements available for children.  In addition, they will learn the importance of maintaining a child in the least restrictive environment.

Court Expectations

Volunteers will learn how to organize your case information. A Magistrate will discuss the Juvenile Court’s expectations of CASA Volunteers.

Court Report Writing

Volunteers will gain understanding of how to write a report for court. Participants will become familiar with how to organize the information, write case histories and make effective recommendations to the court.