CASA’s trained volunteers advocate for abused and neglected children involved in court proceedings in Minnehaha and Lincoln counties of South Dakota. The Sioux Falls CASA Program currently has active volunteers and staff persons dedicated to making a powerful impact in the lives of these children.
I have worked with CASA and CASA volunteers in the past as an attorney representing parties in abuse and neglect cases in the Second Circuit of South Dakota. Since I was aware of the dynamics of CASA and the fact that they are all volunteers, having our paralegal studies students create and give a presentation on basic interviewing and investigation skills for CASA volunteers was a perfect fit for the students’ applied learning project.
On Jan. 20, 2013, the paralegal degree students presented to the CASA volunteers and staff at one of CASA’s training sessions. Thirteen CASA volunteers listened to the students and asked follow-up questions. Students covered the basic skills an interviewer should possess, where to hold an interview, how to read body language, and the different types of people to interview.
The paralegal students–Jessica Johnson, Rachel Fitzgerald, Katelyn Hanson, Matt Hansen, and Brent Ammann–did a great job presenting this information. The volunteers listened, some took notes, and many asked questions. I am very proud to state that during the question and answer phase, the students were able to answer the questions correctly and with ease.
CASA is a perfect organization for the Interviewing and Investigation class to present to. Our students gained hands-on experience and networking opportunities. Plus, the CASA volunteers must attend a minimum of 12 hours per year of training, and our students’ presentation helped fulfill a portion of this requirement.
After the presentation, LaRae Oberloh, CASA program manager, discussed continuing our partnership.
Globe University is proud to help CASA create safe, permanent and loving homes for special children.
By Renae Kruse, Paralegal Program Chair, Globe University-Sioux Falls