Volunteer: Support LGBTQ+ Youth in Foster Care

Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs): Help LGBTQ+ Youth in Foster Care Thrive

Navigating the foster care system can be an arduous and daunting experience, particularly for vulnerable youth who identify as LGBTQ+. However, Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) are playing a vital role in providing support, guidance, and advocacy to ensure the best possible outcomes for these young individuals. Are you interested in volunteering? Read more to learn about how you can become a CASA and make a difference in the life of a young person in foster care.

What is a CASA?

A Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) is a specially trained volunteer who is appointed by a judge to advocate for the best interests of an abused or neglected child within the foster care system. CASAs are typically assigned to one specific child or sibling group, allowing them to form a personal relationship and gain a comprehensive understanding of their unique circumstances and needs.


CASAs undergo professional training before they are assigned to a case, ensuring they possess the necessary skills to effectively support and advocate for the children they will be working with. The training includes modules covering child welfare law, trauma-informed care, cultural competency, communication techniques, and more. The training period can range from several weeks to a few months, depending on the organization offering the program.

In the state of Delaware, CASAs complete 15 hours of online training and 15 hours of in-the-seat (live) training. In-the-seat training consists of a weekly 3-hour section over 5 consecutive weeks. After the initial training, CASAs are required to complete 12 hours of annual training.

Activities CASAs Engage in with Youth in Foster Care:

CASAs engage in a range of activities to support the well-being and development of the youth in foster care. These activities include:

1. Building Trust and Relationships: CASAs spend time getting to know the child, building a trusting and supportive relationship. They act as consistent and stable figures in the child’s life, advocating for their best interests.

2. Attending Court Hearings: CASAs participate in court proceedings, ensuring the child’s voice is heard and their interests are represented. They provide valuable input to judges, collaborating with other professionals involved in the child’s life.

3. Assessing Educational Needs: CASAs closely monitor the child’s educational progress, collaborating with teachers, school counselors, and administrators to identify and address any challenges. They advocate for appropriate resources and services to promote the child’s academic success.

4. Collaborating with Service Providers: CASAs liaise with mental health professionals, social workers, therapists, and other service providers to align resources and support systems that enhance the child’s overall well-being.

5. Encouraging Extra-Curricular Involvement: CASAs identify and encourage appropriate extracurricular activities that align with the child’s interests and talents. These activities help foster a sense of belonging and provide opportunities for personal growth.

The Importance of CASAs for LGBTQ+ Youth in Foster Care:

LGBTQ+ youth in foster care often face unique challenges, including discrimination, rejection, and isolation. CASAs play a vital role in ensuring these challenges are recognized and addressed promptly. They:

1. Provide Emotional Support: CASAs offer a safe space for LGBTQ+ youth to express their feelings and concerns openly. By providing unconditional support, they help alleviate feelings of isolation and loneliness.

2. Advocate for Appropriate Placements: CASAs actively work to ensure LGBTQ+ youth are placed in foster homes that are affirming and supportive of their sexual orientation or gender identity. They advocate for competent and inclusive foster care placements, targeting families who have undergone diversity and inclusion training.

3. Connect to LGBTQ+ Resources: CASAs link LGBTQ+ youth with support networks, community organizations, and other resources that can help meet their unique needs. They ensure these youth have access to LGBTQ+-inclusive mental health professionals and other specialized services.


Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) serve as dedicated advocates for children in the foster care system, fulfilling a vital role in promoting their best interests. Are you interested in volunteering? Become a CASA and help create a more inclusive and nurturing environment for all youth in foster care.

Learn more about the Delaware State CASA program here

Ready to start? Fill out the online application here.

Tell us about your experience

If you are currently a CASA for an LGBTQ+ Youth in foster care, or just interested in becoming one, we want to hear from you. Send an email to housing@sussexpride.org and let us know.