Become a Volunteer in 3 Easy Steps
Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Volunteers are highly trained community volunteers who advocate for abused and neglected children going through the court system here in Boulder County, Colorado.
Step 1) Complete a Volunteer Application & Background Check Packet
In order to begin the process to become a CASA Volunteer in Boulder County, you will need to complete our online application and complete a background screening packet. Your online application can be completed and submitted by clicking the submit an online application button below. However, to complete a background check screening packet, you will need to download our fillable background check packet, fill it out on your computer or tablet, and then email the background check pack to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail it to 6672 Gunpark Drive #100 Boulder, CO 803011. To download the background check screening packet, click the download background check packet button below.
It is important to note that we can not accept handwritten background checks. This means that you will need to download the fillable background check packet from above, fill it out on your computer or tablet, print and sign the highlighted fields, and then email or mail it to us directly. And finally, if you need financial support to complete your volunteer packet, please fill out our scholarship application.
Step 2) Have an In-Person Interview
Once your CASA Volunteer Application (which includes your online application, background check packet, and $40 application fee) has been received, one of our Program Staff will contact you via email or phone call to schedule and complete an in-person interview. After your in-person interview takes place, our Program Staff will then contact your references that were submitted with your CASA Volunteer Application.
Step 3) Attend a CASA Pre-Service Training
After a successful in-person interview and reference check, you may then be invited to attend our CASA pre-service Training by our Program Staff. At this point, you then switch from a CASA Volunteer Applicant to a CASA Volunteer Trainee. CASA Volunteer Trainees must be able to attend most training sessions, though it is not a problem if a scheduling conflict means you might miss one session. To view our upcoming training schedule, click the view upcoming trainings button below.
Our Upcoming Events & Trainings
+ Training & Helpful Documents
Wellbeing Assessment Video
For Peer Coordinators
Forms & Policies
+ CEU Opportunities
As a CASA, you are required to complete 12 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) per calendar year. CEUs can take many forms. The following are suggestions that could count towards CEUs, if they are relevant to your CASA work:
• In-Services or other educational lectures (1 unit per hour) – Inservice Calendar
• Books (3 units)
• Movies (2 units)
• TV Series (1 unit per hour)
All CEU submissions go through Optima. Please be prepared to write a brief review.
National CASA Resources:
Click here for a library of articles, publications, and webinars that enhance your ability to stand up for the needs and rights of abused and neglected children, in the courtroom and other settings.
Books and Movies:
Many books are available in our office library, call ahead and check
Movies in Theater:
Eighth Grade, 2018
Beautify Boy, 2018
Far From the Tree; by Andrew Soloman
Andrew Solomon tells the stories of parents who not only learn to deal with their exceptional children but also find profound meaning in doing so. (Note: This is also a movie listed under “Other Recommendations”)
The Great Alone; a novel by Kristen Hannah
Alaska, 1974. Intense. Unforgiving. Untamed. For a family in crisis, the ultimate test of survival. This book deals with the impact of domestive violence on children.
Ee Were The Lucky Ones; a novel by Patricia Hunter
Inspired by the incredible true story of one Jewish family separated at the start of World War II, determined to survive—and to reunite. It’s a tribute to the triumph of hope and love against all odds. This books speaks to the impact of sep
Educated, A Memoir; by Tara Westover An unforgettable memoir by Tara Westover, a young girl who grew up in a survivalist family in Idaho, the youngest child. She was not homeschooled—instead, she simply didn’t go to school at all, due to her father’s mistrust of public schools. Her family didn’t believe in modern medicine. Instead, her mother was an herbalist and midwife. Her father owned a junkyard. Her childhood is affected over and over by serious injuries of family members, injuries which are not treated. As Tara gets into her preteen and teen years, one older brother in particular starts tormenting her, and the tormenting rises to the level of hugely severe abuse. In part in response to this, she decides to go to college, and by pretty much sheer force of will, does well enough on the ACT to get into Brigham Young University. From there, she starts a storied college career and eventually gets a doctorate from Cambridge. However, each time she is drawn back to her family her brother’s abuse continues and the family denial turns more and more severe. The memoir becomes a story of her internal struggle—to believe her own version of her life and to have the strength to break away from her past.
Lucky Boy; by Shanthi Sekara A beautifully written novel which could be a true story. As a Court Appointed Special Advocate who recommends to the court the best home for a juvenile, this book brings the attention to the fact that many times an illegal immigrant has no control over the fate of their child through no fault of their own. Which is better for a child – to be raised in a home where a mother can barely provide for her child or in a two parent, loving, financially solvent environment, that offers every opportunity to a child?
The Glass Castle, a Memoir; by Jeannette Walls This is a memorable and troubling story written from a child’s perspective. Folks are commenting that Jeannette did not judge or condemn her parents for their miserable failings. What I suspect is simply that she was highly intelligent and had keen insight into their psychology and knew, on a deeper level than most children, they were “doing the best they could” in a sense. Only she knows what is in her heart. I got the sense she accepted and saw reality clearly. Her zest for life, insatiable curiosity and hopeful-ness in spite of her parents’ failings made her a rare exception among people who are raised in such a way, in my opinion. What I admire most about her is that she never gave up and resigned herself or allowed what was clearly abnormal to become normal.
Orphan Train; a novel by Christina Baker Kline This historical novel was well written as the author describes the journeys of many orphaned children in New York City that were sent by train to other states for adoption and the horrific processes these children experienced during the earliest adoption runs. This book was an eye opener because most don’t know anything about this happening until reading this book. The story really touches the heart. A difficult story to read of children being mistreated in different adoptive situations at a time in history with a very different idea about how children should be treated. It is also a story of resilience and a good reminder that children can come back from abuse and neglect.
An Invisible Thread; by Laura Schroff The true story of an 11-year-old panhandler, a busy sales executive, and an unlikely meeting with destiny.
Room; by Emma Donoghue This story is heavy, intense, and remarkable. It tells the story of 5-year-old Jack and his Ma, who are trapped inside of an 11×11 ft room. It is told in Jack’s point of view, and how he is learning about the world outside, which he doesn’t believe is real. There is so much more detail that I could go into for a summary of this amazing novel, but I don’t want to give anything away. I read ROOM over a course of two days, staying up very late at night to finish the last couple of pages. ROOM is now my favorite book of all time, and if you are wanting to read an emotional rollercoaster of a novel that deals with a heavy topic, ROOM is definitely the one for you
WARNINGS: This book deals with kidnapping, sexual assault, and depression. Foul language and mature themes are explicitly used throughout this novel
I Beat the Odds; From Homelessness, to The Blind Side, and Beyond, by Michael Oher Looking back on how he went from being a homeless child in Memphis to playing in the NFL, Michael talks about the goals he had to break out of the cycle of poverty, addiction, and hopelessness that trapped his family. Eventually he grasped onto football as his ticket out and worked hard to make his dream into a reality. With his adoptive family, the Touhys, and other influential people in mind, he describes the absolute necessity of seeking out positive role models and good friends who share the same values to achieve one’s dreams. Sharing untold stories of heartache, determination, courage, and love, I Beat the Odds is an incredibly rousing tale of one young man’s quest to achieve the American dream.
Refugee by Alan Gratz Three kids go on harrowing journeys in search of refuge. All will face unimaginable dangers — from drownings to bombings to betrayals. But there is always the hope of tomorrow. And although Josef, Isabel, and Mahmoud are separated by continents and decades, shocking connections will tie their stories together in the end. This action-packed novel tackles topics both timely and timeless: courage, survival, and the quest for home.
A Practical Guide to the Indian Child Welfare Act; by the Native American Rights Fun (2007). This guide is intended to answer questions and provide a comprehensive resource of information on the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). Helps give a framework for understanding the conversations among the professionals relating to ICWA.
A Child Called “It”; by Dave Pelzer This book chronicles the unforgettable account of one of the most severe child abuse cases in California history. It is the story of Dave Pelzer, who was brutally beaten and starved by his emotionally unstable, alcoholic mother: a mother who played tortuous, unpredictable games–games that left him nearly dead. He had to learn how to play his mother’s games in order to survive because she no longer considered him a son, but a slave; and no longer a boy, but an “it.” The outside world knew nothing of his living nightmare. He had nothing or no one to turn to, but his dreams kept him alive–dreams of someone taking care of him, loving him and calling him their son.
The Oprah Winfrey 60 Minutes Special on trauma-informed care
Internet Movies and shows:
Search Key Words: Child Welfare, Foster Children, At-Risk Children, Child Welfare Advocate
Closure – Follow Angela’s journey to meet her birth family The Dark Matter of Love – Families discover the realities of bonding with children who have grown up in institutions Stuck – Follow the fate of four learning children and learn about international adoption laws.
Foster Care Movies:
The Girl – A woman, whose son is in Foster Care, struggles as she assists illegal immigrants across the border.
Camp – A boy living in Foster Care builds an unlikely bond with an investment banker.
Short Term 12 – The emotions and struggles of staff and children in a group home are brought to life.
(Netflix) Small Screen Shows Tackling Big Themes:
The Fosters – An Offbeat drama featuring a diverse family built through adoption and foster care.
Life Unexpected – After living in foster care and seeking emancipation, Lux finds her biological parents.
The Guardian – Nick’s eyes are opened to the lives of At-Risk youth
Thirteen Reasons Why Season 1– The story of a young high school student as she descends into despair brought on by betrayal and bullying, culminating with her suicide.
The Florida Project – A movie about a mother-daughter living in a hotel in Florida, touches on the difficulties between a parent and child.
Far From the Tree – Parents of children who have Down syndrome, dwarfism or autism share intimate stories of the challenges they face.
Boulder County Public Library:
eBooks, books, DVDs, eVideo, online Resource.
Search Key Words: Child Welfare, Foster Children, At-Risk Children, Child Welfare Advocate
Narrow Search Option:
adult books, children’s books, fiction, documentary, etc.
Suggested movies & books available online/in the library:
The Great Gilly Hopkins
The Road to Paris
Locomotion (sequel: Peace Locomotion)
+ Community Resources
Attention Homes https://www.attentionhomes.org
A safe resource for youth in crisis providing shelter, structure, and access to crucial services so that homeless and displaced 12-24 year olds can become stable, independent members of our community and achieve their potential.
Blue Sky Bridge https://www.blueskybridge.org
Child and family advocacy center that provides comprehensive, supportive and professional response to child abuse investigations.
Boulder County Housing and Human Services https://www.bouldercounty.org
BCDHHS is dedicated to a vision of healthy communities that are more self-sufficient, sustainable and resilient. Services include: Health Coverage, Food Assistance, Family and Children Services, Housing, Financial Assistance and Education & Skill Building.
Boulder Valley Women’s Health Center https://www.boulderwomenshealth.org
Provides accessible, confidential and comprehensive gynecological and reproductive health care, including sexual health services and education.
Bridge House https://www.boulderbridgehouse.org
Provides basic services like food and shelter to the homeless and working poor. Clients have the opportunity to get hot meals, medical and mental health services, and to meet with a case manager that will assist them with everything from employment services to addiction concerns.
Bright By Three https://www.brightbythree.org
Bright by Three visits with parents and other caregivers and provides a three-step program to make sure their little ones get the best start in life. Best for children under 3.
Children’s Alley at the YWCA https://www.ywcaboulder.org/childrensalley
The only emergency, drop-in childcare facility in Boulder County. Parents can call the afternoon before or the morning of to schedule childcare. Rates are based on a sliding scale.
Children First of the Rockies https://www.ccfor.org
Parent Education Program and SAFE Services Program services are designed to ensure the safety and well-being of children and help families in conflict or crisis improve their quality of life.
Colorado Legal Services https://www.coloradolegalservices.org
Legal counseling and information are provided for low income persons in civil matters regarding public assistance, family law, mental health, restraining orders, pro se (do-it yourself) divorce, etc.
Community Food Share https://www.communityfoodshare.org
Distributes food to those in need: the working poor, the homeless, the unemployed, the physically and mentally disabled, children, seniors and adolescents at risk.
El Comite https://www.elcomitedelongmont.org
Bi-lingual comprehensive case management, advocacy and effective referrals to health, legal, social, basic needs, educational and emergency services.
Emergency Family Assistance Association (EFAA) https://www.efaa.org
Helps those in our community whose immediate need for food, financial assistance with rent or mortgage, utility bills, minor medical or transportation needs and other basic needs.
Inn Between https://www.innbetween.org
Provides a self-sufficiency program that promotes stability for diverse homeless families and individuals.
Intercambio de Comunidades https://www.intercambio.org
Activities for adult immigrants from all over the world to learn English and reduce barriers.
iThrive – Alternatives for Youth https://www.thrivingteens.org
Provides bi-lingual classes for teens with drug/alcohol abuse.
LEVI (Longmont Ending Violence Initiative) https://www.longmontdomesticviolence.org
Aproject designed to enlist the entire community in an effort to reduce and control domestic violence. This is a multi-agency collaborative response to be accomplished through three goals: 1) prevention/education, 2)access and referrals 3) public information.
Mother House https://www.mother-house.org
Provides a safe haven for pregnant women who are at risk.
Moving to End Sexual Assault (MESA) https://www.movingtoendsexualassault.org
24-hour Hotline: 303-443-7300 Offers group therapy for adult survivors of sexual assault, advocacy and support at the hospital following a sexual assault and for survivors who choose to go through the criminal justice process. Medical support and legal support are offered as well.
Rocky Mountain Legal Center https://www.rmlegal.org
Provides free and sliding cost services for civil legal representation and mediation services for low-income families, single parents, and seniors.
Safe Shelter of St. Vrain Valley https://www.safeshelterofstvrain.org
24-hour Crisis Line: 303-771-4422
Provides a comprehensive system of programs and services to address the needs of victims of domestic abuse including emergency shelter, counseling and legal advocacy.
Sister Carmen Community Center https://www.sistercarmen.org
A Family Resource Center providing Nutrition & Healthy Living, Individual & Family Advocacy and Children’s Services programs.
Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence (SPAN) https://www.safehousealliance.org
24-hour Crisis Line:303-444-2424 Provides temporary housing, counseling, education, advocacy, and support services for adult survivors of domestic violence their children who are not able to safely remain at home or in the community.
Summer Food Programs https://www.kidsfoodfinder.org
Hunger Free Colorado is a federal nutrition program designed to ensure that children ages 1-18 have access to healthy meals and snacks during summer break.
OUR Center https://www.ourcenter.org
Aid individuals and families in need of food, resources and to develop vital life-long skills to enable self-sufficiency. The OUT Center offers: Temporary family shelter, Housing assistance, Rent assistance, Utilities assistance, Healthcare expense assistance, Local transportation, Local hot meals, Groceries, Clothing, Child care.
Parents Engagement Network https://www.parentengagementnetwork.org
Resources on substance use and abuse in teens working with the community to support parents in raising happy, healthy youth. Includes general information websites along with support groups throughout Boulder County.