- How do you relate to the caseworker in the video? Is there anything you need clarification on in regards to your CASA cases in order to best serve the child in your case (i.e. the evaluation and extra paperwork in the video)?
- The caseworker talks about how all factors and people in a child's life (therapist, foster parent, teachers, education, housing, etc) are connected and work together to ultimately help a child thrive. How have you noticed particular factors connecting in your child's life? What kind of effects have you seen because of people/factors working together?
- Which case will you never forget? What's your success story?
This quick but powerful video explores the experiences of one caseworker and how her dedication and hard work truly paid off in Jacinta's life. She also discusses the lasting effects of evaluation, communication, and how each person involved in a child's case plays a vital role in seeing that child succeed. Even though the video doesn't directly mention CASA Volunteers, everything the caseworker deals with and experiences is something that you, as CASAs, can relate to and understand. As you are watching the video, here are a few things to consider...
On February 4, 2014 the annual CASA Day at the Capitol took place, in which over 150 child advocates from all over the state united in Atlanta for a day of learning about new legislative laws and ways to better improve child welfare in Georgia. Throughout the day, CASA volunteers, board members and staff heard about important legislative issues facing local CASA affiliates, as well as the state organization. Attendees also spoke with legislators in the Senate and House, including Senator Jason Carter, Senator Frank Ginn, Senator Tyler Harper, and Representative Stacey Evans. From Athens, Representative Regina Quick also joined and spoke about the changes in the juvenile justice system.
“We enjoyed speaking with Rep. Regina Quick about the new juvenile justice bill, and to hear her thoughts on how we move forward under the new bill,” says Children First Executive Director, Tony Waller. In addition to being an educational and beneficial experience, CASA Day at the Capitol also proved to be a fun day for people who share a common passion to come together. “It is always fun to spend time under the Gold Dome and to be recognized by all the people there for our work helping Georgia’s children,” says Waller.
This recently published blog post is one woman’s thoughts and experiences of living an impoverished life. She seeks to help explain the rationale behind bad decisions she, and many people living in poverty, make, and how she attempts to cope with her situation. The article is thought provoking, compelling, and does a fantastic job of really putting the reader in the shoes of people living below the poverty line. The comments following the article are almost equally interesting, and though are occasionally hostile, the author does a great job of replying and addressing their frustrations directly. Click here for the full post.
Questions to Consider:
Melissa Schofield has been a CASA for the past year and a half. She first discovered the CASA program about ten years ago at a festival in Five Points where she stumbled across a CASA volunteer booth. Unable to get involved with the program then, Melissa kept CASA in the back of her mind and hoped that someday she would have the time to become a volunteer. The time did come for her schedule to open up some, and she finished her training in March of 2012. Melissa currently has two cases – one that she was assigned right out of training, and another that she’s had for about a year now. She says that the most rewarding part of being a CASA is, “knowing you are making a real difference.” When Melissa was going through training she thought that she would be, “merely making sure everyone involved in that particular case was following through on their obligations.” However, she has since seen that her voice truly does matter, and she has a significant amount of influence over the outcome for these children. She says that this amount of influence leads to the most challenging part of being a CASA, which is trying to make the best decision about where a child should be placed. Melissa strongly urges anyone who, “loves kids and has a protective nature” to become a CASA volunteer because, “this is a good place to use those strengths to help the most vulnerable in our society.” Thanks for all your hard work and dedication, Melissa!
"For more than a decade, researchers have understood that frequent or continual stress on young children who lack adequate protection and support from adults, is strongly associated with increases in the risks of lifelong health and social problems..." says author of the article, David Bornstein. Click here to read the full article about effects of toxic stress on children.
“We have kids having kids and they aren’t prepared for the responsibilities that come with it,” says Frank Wells, program director at Children in Need of Hugs (CINOH). CINOH is a program in California founded and run by Lorraine Hargrave (pictured). Hargrave was in and out of foster care homes throughout her entire young life, and when she became a teenage mother, she didn’t know where to turn. At a time when most group homes and foster care homes did not accept teen moms, Hargrave vowed that she would one day open up a home for homeless teen mothers, and that is exactly what she did in 2001. Read here about CINOH and the wonderful 18-month program that Hargrave has started.
Questions to Consider:
Get up to date with everything going on around the state with Georgia CASA's Fall 2013 E-Newsletter. Click here to read the full letter!
Athens Clarke County Federation of Neighborhoods will host its panel on Children’s Social Services on Oct. 7th. Directors from The Cottage, Children First, and Family Connections, as well as the president from the Nancy Travis Foundation are the panelists, who will share the successes and challenges of their individual programs, and also provide information about community involvement. The program will take place in the Old Fire Hall (entrances on both Prince Ave. and Hill St.) at 7:30pm. Anyone interested in learning more about these programs and social services for children is invited!!
Reminder: CASA Volunteers can earn in-service hours for attending!
In Kansas City, CASA volunteers are working to start a program called Fostering Futures, in which CASAs would spend enough time with the child in his or her case to identify a supportive and consistent adult in that child’s life, who would serve as a mentor even after the child is too old to be in the court system. Especially for those children who are raised in and out of different foster homes, and without a solid role model, having someone to guide and encourage them into the early adult years is crucial. This uplifting article raises the astute point that after the child is too old to be in the system, who does he or she rely on when times get tough? Whether or not that person is indeed the CASA, or a person identified by the CASA, it’s someone that every child needs.
Questions to Consider:
As CASAs, we know that after a child is removed from his or her home, relatives can be a great source of comfort during this chaotic and confusing experience. The familiarity of a family member can be grounding for a child in such a pivotal time. Relatives are often looked to first when trying to decide where to place a child. This article discusses relative versus non-relative foster care, and challenges the outdated laws of financial support, which grant non-relative foster parents a significantly greater amount of financial aid than in relative foster care. Read this article and think about the benefits of financial stability for all foster care families.
Questions to consider:
What do you think about granting parity to foster parents who are also relatives? Can you think of any reasons why this financial inequality was ever put into place from the start? Do you know the laws in Georgia regarding financial support and whether or not they’re the same as in California? Do you think relatives would be more likely to step up and foster if they were given more aid? What are the advantages to children being placed in a foster home of a relative?