New volunteers 
 
Before being matched with a child, new volunteers learn about CASA practices and principles during our pre-service training program. We're currently in the midst of our summer 2019 training program and will offer training again in the fall. Email us at rappcasa@gmail.com to start the process of joining us.
 
Training includes five classes. Typically, we hold three classes during the day and one in the evening, and another class begins in the afternoon and carries into the evening. We are not currently offering weekend training.

Volunteer candidates need to complete an application, take part in an interview and complete background checks before participating in training. We typically offer training for new volunteers 2-3 times each year. Please get in touch (540-710-6199 or rappcasa@gmail.com) if you'd like to take part. 
 
We recognize that it can be difficult for people working full-time to train with us; it's why two of the six mandatory classes are held during the evening. We realize the upfront time commitment is big, but CASA service becomes much more flexible, time-wise, once training is complete. Our CASAs who work full-time have managed to take time off for training by using personal leave time, adjusting their work schedules, and sometimes, by counting CASA training toward their own workplace training requirements.
 
Pre-service training is vital to becoming an effective CASA. Our training classes cover a variety of topics related to the child welfare system, including:
  • the effects of substance abuse, poverty and domestic violence on families
  • the importance of objectivity, patience and compassion in CASA service
  • how to interview people, gather information and write effective CASA reports
  • the foster care timeline and child protection laws
  • the roles of social workers, Guardians ad litem and parents' attorneys
Training culminates with volunteers being sworn in by a local Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court judge.
 
Current volunteers
 
We hold several events each year to help our current volunteers acquire at least 12 hours of additional training -- the minimum annual requirement. The events also give volunteers a chance to gather for support, encouragement and new information. CASA staff email volunteers with upcoming training dates.
 
Quarterly meetings, which give volunteers a chance to discuss case challenges and successes and hear program updates, are held in the CASA office -- typically on Monday or Tuesday evenings from 6-8 p.m. In-service training sessions often feature guest speakers discussing topics relevant to CASA work. They are usually held on weeknights but occasionally on Saturday mornings.

Rappahannock CASA also periodically hosts book club gatherings and movie nights to provide CASA volunteers with the opportunity to learn about and discuss child welfare-related issues.