Monday, June 18 , 2018, 11:59 pm | Fair 61º


CASA of Santa Barbara County Now Offering Blended Flex Training for Volunteers

Recognizing the trend that volunteers are more pressed for time and require more flexibility, CASA of Santa Barbara County will now offer Flex Learning for those interested in becoming a CASA volunteer.

The Flex Learning curriculum is a blended approach to training that combines in-person and online delivery of information.

CASA, which stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates, trains volunteers who are sworn in by a juvenile judge to help ensure abused or neglected children find a safe, permanent home as quickly as possible. The role of a CASA volunteer is to act as an extra pair of eyes and ears for the court, collecting information through observation and interviews with key people in the child’s life before reporting back to the judge. There are currently more than 100 children in Santa Barbara County who are waiting to be matched with a CASA volunteer.

In order to become a Court Appointed Special Advocate, volunteers must complete a total of 30 pre-service training hours.

“Previously, the only option we offered was 30 hours of in-person training,” CASA volunteer manager Crystal Moreno said.

Now with the blended Flex Learning, CASA has made it easier than ever to become a volunteer. Trainees will complete half of the training online and half in person.

The self-guided online sessions are user friendly and introduce volunteers to the key elements of CASA work and the tools for effective child advocacy. The in-person training occurs in five sessions, meeting one night per week from 6 to 9 p.m. The in-person sessions use case studies to introduce participants to a variety of dynamic topics, including child abuse and neglect, bonding and attachment, cultural awareness, communicating with children, interviewing, and writing a compelling court report.

Once training is complete, volunteers are required to visit their case child on a weekly basis for a minimum of one hour. Volunteers donate an average of eight to 10 hours a month spending time with the child and gathering information. Volunteers are asked to commit until the case has been closed — a minimum of one year. The CASA volunteer is often the only consistent adult in the child’s life who stays involved in the case from beginning to end, providing stability and continuity that is desperately needed.

“By giving potential volunteers a more flexible option for training, we hope it will open the door for more people who weren’t able to previously commit," Morenov said. "Trainees will be able to complete the online portion at their own convenience, whether it be midnight, the middle of the day or during the weekend.”

For information on how to become a volunteer or upcoming training opportunities, contact Tara Gross at 805.739.9102 x2595 or [email protected].

— Tara Gross is an outreach coordinator for CASA of Santa Barbara County.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >