CASA Blog

08 Oct

Car Safety and Children

Many people may be surprised to learn that the leading cause of death for children in the United States is motor vehicle crashes. Car accidents cause 1 of every 4 unintentional deaths for children in the United States. According to the CDC, 675 children under 12 were killed as occupants in motor vehicle crashes in 2017. Of the 675 that were killed, 35% were not buckled up. Although seat belts and child safety seats are still relatively new technology...

25 Sep

The Minimum Sufficient Level of Care

Since embracing my role as a Court Appointed Special Advocate in May of 2015, I have spent much time pondering the concept of a minimum sufficient level of care (MSLC). This is a standard used in our child welfare system that attempts to protect our families from individual biases and value judgments. It is a “yard stick” used to measure when a child should be removed or reunited with his or her parents. The State must ensure the MSLC is...

13 Sep

A Safe and Permanent Om

I’ve been doing a lot of airline travel this summer. Even when crossing just a couple of time zones, I find it difficult to get to sleep when trying to adjust to the time change. 10pm in Philadelphia is only 8pm in Billings, which is much earlier than when my brain would ordinarily be ready to sleep. And this adjustment is a minimal one compared to the jet lag I experienced following a couple of transatlantic flights. During these instances of...

29 Aug

Mythbusters: CASA of Yellowstone County Edition

Pixabay “Oh, so you’re a CASA?  So that means….” And so often begins a conversation in which I have the privilege of blowing away all kinds of myths about what we do here at CASA of Yellowstone County. Even though different CASA programs across the country vary bit by bit, there are still a lot of misconceptions in our community about just what CASA of Yellowstone County does! Here are some of the myths I’ve come across and the facts I’ve been...

13 Aug

“Quick, Tell Me About CASA”: Polishing Your Elevator Speech

The work of CASA of Yellowstone County is filling an urgent need in our community by advocating for the most vulnerable among us: abused and neglected children. As a Court Appointed Special Advocate, Peer Coordinator, Staff or Friend of CASA, how do you spread the word about our work? Do you have an elevator pitch that you use to introduce CASA to outsiders and entice them to learn more? If not, now’s your time to refine your ambassador skills! What is...

05 Aug

New Normals

“Children are great imitators. So give them something great to imitate.” -Unknown. Humans are amazing beings. We learn languages, social interactions and behaviors within a matter of years as young children, and those learned behaviors continue to form the way we grow and learn for the rest of our lives. But when dangerous and destructive influences are present in the lives of children from the very beginning of their existence, these are the habits and lessons that are...

29 Jul

CASA Small Groups: Drawing from the Well of Community

Volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocates in Yellowstone County are a varied lot. Our ranks include active retirees and young professionals. Some work within the home and others part or full time in institutions or businesses. What we do hold in common: We are busy people! Busy people do not need one more meeting a month. If we are going to take the time, it needs to be worth the effort. The Small Groups offered by CASA of Yellowstone County are...

16 Jul

Talking is Hard

The title says it all. I mean seriously, verbal communication is not an easy thing. It is super challenging to find words in your brain and make them come out of your mouth, in a sentence that has a subject, predicate, direct object, maybe some prepositions, and ends with a period. Never mind keeping your adjectives and adverbs straight. And! Let’s not forget the fact that we all have our own weird idiosyncrasies and neurotic mannerisms that get in the...

09 Jul

Foster Care in England

It was in December 2006 when a London pediatrician first noticed bruises on 11-month-old Baby P’s face and chest. The infant was put into the care of a family friend, but only for a month before he was returned to his mom. Six months later, another examination determined that his new bruises were the result of abuse, but this time he remained with his birth family. By August 2007, Baby P was back in the hospital where his broken back...

03 Jul

Book Review: Crucial Conversations

I’ll admit it: I’m a bookworm. Any time I’m hoping to build my skills in any particular area, I’m likely to ask at some point, “Are there any good books about this?” So when I dove into this world of CASA and all the emotions that we encounter throughout the course of our cases, I was excited to receive a recommendation for Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler....