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Update: Recalculated Training Hours for Volunteers Completing OCAST

At the request of the CASA network and based on a large number of participants who have completed the course, Texas CASA has recalculated the average number of hours it takes to complete the full Online Core Advocacy Skills Training (OCAST) (Lessons 1-6), as well as the number of training hours to award.

We have recalculated that it takes an average of 15 hours total for a person to complete the full OCAST course (Lessons 1-6). Lessons 1-4 of OCAST cover required curriculum of the volunteer pre-service training, while the completion of Lessons 5 and 6 can count for in-service training hours. Below are the recalculated training hours for OCAST:

  • Local CASA programs can credit volunteer applicants 10 pre-service training hours to complete Lessons 1-4.
  • Programs can credit 5 in-service training hours to volunteers for completing Lessons 5 and 6.

The Online Advocacy Skills Training (OCAST) covers these six lessons:

  • Lesson 1) A Child Comes to the Attention of the Child Protective System
  • Lesson 2) Ex-Parte Hearing to Adversary Hearing
  • Lesson 3) Status Hearing to Initial Permanency Hearing
  • Lesson 4) Subsequent Permanency to Final Hearing
  • Lesson 5) Trial/Adoption
  • Lesson 6) Permanent Managing Conservatorship

Lessons 1-4 of the OCAST curriculum substitute for Chapter 2, “Introducing the Law, the Child Protection System & the Courts,” of the 2007 National CASA Association Volunteer Training Curriculum. The remaining curriculum must still be incorporated into the volunteer pre-service training.

Texas CASA Standard 7.C.5. lists all the required pre-service training topics:

  1. Roles and responsibilities of a CASA volunteer.
  2. Operation of the court, court process and child welfare system.
  3. Dynamics of families including mental health, substance abuse, domestic violence and poverty.
  4. Relevant state laws, regulations and policies.
  5. Relevant federal laws, regulations and policies, including the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA), the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and the Multi Ethnic Placement Act (MEPA).
  6. Confidentiality and record keeping practices.
  7. Child development as well as the background and needs of children served by the program.
  8. The nature and effect of child abuse and neglect.
  9. Permanency planning.
  10. Community agencies and resources available to meet the needs of children and families.
  11. Communication and information gathering.
  12. Effective advocacy.
  13. Cultural competency.
  14. Special needs of the children served.