CASA Blog

11 Feb

Why I Advocate

For years, I carried around a greeting card. I don’t remember where it came from, but it was one of those cards that is blank inside and has a motivational quote on the front. This one was more of a story than a quote, and it went like this: A man was walking along the beach during low tide. There were hundreds of fish washed ashore, stuck on the sand. He walked by another man who was picking up fish, one...

05 Feb

How to…Advocate for Teens

The blog team here at CASA of Yellowstone County is excited to introduce a series of “how to” blogs. In addition to the insightful blogs you’ve come to expect, we will be sprinkling in entries specific to some of the more challenging aspects of our work. To kick off the series, we’ll be discussing how to advocate for teens. According to the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI), thousands of kids age out of the foster care system (turn 18 while...

06 Jan

A Day in the Life of a CASA

Let me preface the following blog with:      I do not live in Billings. Many times I purposely schedule multiple visits, errands, meetings, etc. in one day.      I do not have a set schedule. My husband and I are small corporation owners, so I am in charge of my work day.  Some days are more flexible than others. There are always many options for scheduling my CASA duties.        Court Appointed Special Advocates come from many facets of...

02 Jan

CASA and Civic Action

  Abstrakt Xxcellence Studios I recently received a jury summons. My first response was gratitude that I’d have the opportunity to participate in our society’s judicial process. As a program coordinator at CASA of Yellowstone County, my second response was mild chagrin to learn that the chosen day was already chock full of appointments with Court Appointed Special Advocates and coworkers. My third response was the hope that said CASAs would understand that this was out of my control and the frantic...

24 Dec

The Challenges of Keeping Siblings Together in Foster Care

When children are removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect, they are often being removed along with siblings. It is estimated that over half of children in foster care have a sibling who is also in care. Being removed from parents or caregivers as a child can be very traumatic.  But when children are also separated from siblings and placed into separate foster homes, this can compound that trauma even further. Unfortunately, there are many obstacles that...

02 Dec

Tomorrow is #GivingTuesday

via GivingTuesday.org Giving Tuesday – often stylized as #GivingTuesday on social media – is a worldwide event celebrated annually on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving. Started in New York City in 2012, Giving Tuesday is widely considered as a response to the rampant consumerism associated with the holiday season, especially following Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It has since grown into an international day of charitable giving, with individuals, families, and businesses encouraged to extend their generosity toward nonprofits organizations and other...

14 Nov

Childhood Trauma & Public Health

Court Appointed Special Advocates know that childhood trauma affects adult life. During CASA training we complete the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) questionnaire, which measures a person’s risk for adverse adult experiences connected to childhood trauma. The seminal research which informs this questionnaire was conducted in 1995-97, in cooperation between the Centers for Disease Control and the Kaiser Permanente HMO in Southern California. Broadly speaking, the research confirmed what common sense had long suspected. Multiple lasting adult impacts can be traced to...

04 Nov

Make a Difference This Holiday Season

With the holidays approaching, right now there are over 800 children in Yellowstone County foster care. Those 800 children will be spending their Thanksgiving, their Christmas, and their snow days in a home that is not theirs. In addition to whatever circumstances preceded their entry into foster care, the trauma of being removed from everything that is familiar to them and growing up in a world of inconsistency and turmoil can lead to lifelong struggles for many of these children....

23 Oct

When Your Case is Closed

Dear Advocate, At the closing of your case, I hope you can look back on these past 18 months with a feeling of accomplishment. Know that your advocacy made a difference in the life of a child. I’m sure there were ups and downs along the way. Now is the time to take all that you have learned and plan for your next step with CASA of Yellowstone County. To help you evaluate your experience thus far, you will be invited to...

17 Oct

Holidays in Foster Care

For some, the holidays of autumn and winter are a time for nostalgic reflection on past holidays with loved ones. For others, those memories are fraught with grief and mixed emotions. Foster care, and even kinship care, can be a challenging backdrop for the kids served by our Court Appointed Special Advocates. Even if most of the holidays they remember were pleasant affairs, they are now thrust into a world that is different from the one they have lived in. Navigating...