(CASA) Court Appointed Special Advocates are everyday heroes who choose to provide the consistency and stability that abused or neglected children need as they navigate the court system. In Winnebago County, the CASA is appointed as guardian ad litem (GAL) for the child they represent. 


With training, resources, and support from Winnebago County CASA, each advocate has three main objectives:

  • Serve as fact finder for the judge. By handling only one or two cases, the volunteer has time to thoroughly explore the history of each case.
  • Speak for the child in the courtroom, advocating for the child’s best interests.
  • Act as a “watchdog” for the child during the life of the case, ensuring that the case is brought to a swift and appropriate conclusion.

The ultimate goal is to find a safe, permanent home for every child. We are looking to recruit over 100 new volunteers to help us fill the need in Winnebago County so that every child has a CASA on their side.

How to become a C.A.S.A 

The CASA Job Description

Basic Function: A CASA/GAL is a trained community volunteer appointed by the Juvenile Abuse and Neglect Court Judge to speak for the best interests of an abused, neglected, or dependent child.

Major Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Meet face-to-face with the child at least once a month
  • Act as an independent gatherer of information, speaking with the child and relevant adults (parents, involved family members, school officials, medical personnel, and others involved in the child’s life who might have facts about the case)
  • Review appropriate records and reports
  • Observe the child and significant others
  • Complete official court reports, submitted to the judge at scheduled hearings/reviews
  • Always keep in mind the goal of providing the child with a safe, permanent home

Time Commitment:

Volunteers are required to make an 18 to 24 month commitment to the program and spend, on average, approximately 10 hours per month on a case. Volunteers are expected to be available for case assignment upon completion of all training requirements and after being sworn in by the Juvenile Court Judge, unless other arrangements have been made.


CASAs are expected to attend all court hearings on their cases, although each volunteer is matched with a Winnebago County CASA staff member who can stand in court on behalf of the CASA if needed. 

Necessary Knowledge, Skills, and Requirements:

  • Ability to keep all client and court information confidential
  • Ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing
  • Ability to respect and relate to people from various backgrounds
  • Ability to maintain objectivity and to exhibit good common sense
  • Willingness to submit to background checks
  • Completion of education resulting in either a high school diploma or GED
  • Must be 21 years of age

Advocates are to conduct themselves in an ethical manner which upholds the credibility and dignity of the CASA mission by conducting all business in an honest, fair, professional, and humane manner. Advocates shall not at any time bring discredit to the CASA program.