Date of Conferral

2019

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Public Policy and Administration

Advisor

Anne J. Hacker

Abstract

There is a high turnover rate among court-appointed special advocates (CASA) in the United States. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore the perception of the retention of CASA volunteers. Maslach’s burnout theory and Greene’s theory of resilience provided the framework for the study. A sample of9 active and 5 inactive CASA volunteers, one CASA volunteer recruiter, 3 program supervisors, and one administrator were interviewed. The data was organized and coded manually to facilitate auto-coding using qualitative data software. All responses to each question were compiled in one place allowing for thematic analysis based on the frequency of terms and concepts occurring during the interviews. According to study findings, lengthy and complicated processes, restrictive laws and regulations, limited outcomes impact for the children, and unrealistic expectations of the CASA volunteers were the main reasons for the high turnover rate. Support and preparedness were crucial in the CASA volunteers’ decision to serve longer. The study findings would be available for decision makers to review and revise policies in order to improve the experience and adjust expectations imposed on CASA volunteers via recruitment and training messaging. Increasing CASA volunteers’ retention rate would change the trajectory of more children in foster care by improving their chances for achieving positive outcomes.

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