An inside look: Preparing for CASA training

by | Feb 27, 2024 | Spotlight

By Melissa Ronquist, Administrative Coordinator

Preparations are well underway for our next training session, which begins on March 5, 2024. As administrative coordinator, I handle all of the preparations for training classes. As you can imagine, the past few weeks have been ‘crunch time’ for me. Busy as it is, it’s exciting that this will be the second largest cohort in CASA of Kent County’s history with 21 applicants!

Have you ever wondered what goes into preparing for CASA training? Let me walk you through the process!

One of the most important steps before training begins is to start the background check process that is required for all CASA volunteers. When an application is received, we complete four background checks. These include ICHAT (Internet Criminal History Access Tool), District Court records, Courtview (Circuit Court records) and the MI Sex Offender Registry. Once the background check results are reviewed, a determination is made whether the applicant can proceed to the next application step. Additional background checks are also done once training begins.

The next step in the training preparation process is scheduling and conducting the required pre-training interviews. Each prospective volunteer comes to the CASA office to meet with our program staff and talk through a series of important questions. This ensures that the CASA role is a good fit. It’s often demanding to coordinate schedules, but this is where my organizational skills come in! The hectic scheduling process is worth it to ensure that CASA children are receiving the very best advocacy possible.

Finally, I check off the remaining items on my list. As CASA’s administrative coordinator, it’s my job to ensure that each behind-the-scenes component of training falls into place. I prepare physical materials that trainees will use in class. Each prospective volunteer receives a training manual and a policy and procedure manual, so I make sure that all the proper documents are copied and assembled in binders.

I also…

  • Create a training calendar scheduling guest speakers and staff to present on essential topics.
  • Notify courthouse security of the training dates so trainees can enter the building after business hours.
  • Obtain copies of driver’s licenses and proof of auto insurance.
  • Confirm that trainees have completed all the required forms.
  • Reserve the conference room.
  • Make name tags.
  • Purchase refreshments.

Soon, the first night of class will arrive, and everything will fall into place, thanks to the efforts of the CASA staff and applicants. Teamwork at its best!

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