Orientation Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the time commitment to become an advocate?
In the same amount of time you spend each week doing something ordinary, like attending a movie, you can do something extraordinary: change the life of an abused child. Volunteers average 2 to 5 hours of casework per week (8 to 20 hours per month). Most of our volunteers work full-time jobs of their own.
- Do you offer daytime classes/evening classes?
We have designed our Advocacy University training to be as flexible as possible. Of the 30-hour training required, we offer 15 hours in-person and 15 hours of online training. Throughout the year, we have Advocacy University training available during the daytime and the evening. Please check with our staff for our upcoming Advocacy University schedule. *Currently all Advocacy University sessions are online.
- What happens if I miss a class at Advocacy University?
Although we encourage you to only attend Advocacy University training if you can complete it in its entirety, we know that life happens. If you miss a class, you can always make up the class during the next month’s training and be sworn in once all classes are complete.
- What if I have a charge on my background check?
Per our policy, we will run background checks on all advocate volunteers. You must not have been charged with a felony. You must not have been convicted of a misdemeanor or deferred adjudication. (Conviction of a crime does not automatically exclude you from our program. We assess each individual separately).
- Am I doing this work alone?
Once you are sworn in as a Court Appointed Advocate, you will be paired with one of our staff members called an Advocacy Coordinator. Your Advocacy Coordinator, or AC, is a volunteer supervisor. Your AC is there to help guide you through all case-related activities. As you navigate through your case, you should remain in constant communication with your AC.
- What paperwork is required to become an advocate?
In order to become a Court Appointed Advocate, you will need to fill out the volunteer application and volunteer background check form. Once both forms are turned in to Child Advocates, we will review the documents and follow up with you to determine if you are approved to attend Advocacy University training.
- When will I be assigned my first case?
Once you are sworn in as a Court Appointed Advocate, you can be assigned your first case that night. Volunteers are sworn-in during our Pre-Law training, which is the last class of Advocacy University training.
- How long does a case typically last?
All cases vary, but currently, a typical case can last approximately 18 to 22 months.
- Can I be an advocate and participate in other volunteer opportunities with Child Advocates?
Absolutely! You can be an advocate and participate in all other volunteer opportunities, such as Friends of Child Advocates, Young Professionals for Children or Special Events. We encourage volunteers to participate in as many ways as you would like.
- I have been a Court Appointed Advocate in another county/state, do I need to go through the Advocacy University training?
Even though you may have CASA experience at a different program, we require all volunteers to attend our training. Our Advocacy University training is specific to the advocate role in Harris County.