CASA Blog

teen brain map
10 Apr

It Takes a Village: A Perspective from Dr. Mariela Herrera

Sadly, statistics confirm a psychiatric admission for a child in the foster care system is far from an unusual occurrence. Mariela Herrera, MD, Medical Director of Youth Inpatient Psychiatric Unit at Billings Clinic, is on the front lines. “A child’s relationship with a parent is crucial to his or her sense of self, trust, and safety. Initial separation from a caregiver can be extremely traumatic to a child, and each subsequent move adds another layer of trauma,” she indicates. “Mental health...

09 Apr

Film Review: HBO’s Addiction

Poster for Addiction (courtesy of IMDB) The HBO documentary Addiction was produced by John Hoffman and Susan Froemke with Executive Producer Sheila Nevins. The documentary has nine segments that focus on case studies, brain imagery research and cutting edge treatments. Research and brain imagery are revealing new information about the effects of addiction and rehabilitation on the brain. Some interesting revelations from the documentary include: Addiction starts between the ages of 18-25 years. (1) Relapse is part of the addiction disorder (2) Addiction is a...

Possibilities within us 1
03 Apr

Why Native Kids Need Warriors

For as long as we’ve existed, CASA of Yellowstone County has struggled to adequately serve the Native American children in our local foster care system. At CASA we believe that all children deserve to have a voice, and that this voice is most effective when it comes from within the child’s culture. Unfortunately, we have never been able to provide every Native American child we serve with a Court Appointed Special Advocate who comes from a similar cultural background. The overrepresentation of...

01 Dec

Man left a job that was ‘absolutely the worst’ to become an advocate for abused kids

Kip Atkinson went from “bad guy” to good guy in just a few months. The Billings man has now spent a year volunteering as a Court Appointed Special Advocate, or CASA, with abused and neglected kids. Before that, he spent five years shutting off power at homes where bills weren’t paid. “Nobody likes doing it,” Atkinson said. “It is absolutely the worst.” The work was part of Atkinson’s career as a lineman with NorthWestern Energy. It was a small, but eye-opening, part of...

02 Oct

We’re Hiring

Make a difference in the lives of abused and neglected children in our community! We are seeking an individual to join a fast-paced team engaged in training and supporting volunteers to advocate for abused and neglected children in the Yellowstone County court and foster care systems. PROGRAM COORDINATOR – engaged in the ongoing support and coaching of an assigned group of volunteer Advocates Full job description: CASA Program Coordinator Job Description 10.17 Apply: Application: Word Format Employment Application.2016 PDF Format Employment Application.2016 Program Coordinator position open until filled  **Cover...

Battleing Addiction
04 Aug

Gazette opinion: Battling addiction in Montana

For full Gazette article click here  In Montana where barely 10 percent of the people who need treatment for alcohol or other drug abuse actually get it, even the children suffer. “Substance abuse is reaching catastrophic levels in Billings,” said Jennifer Owen, Billings Head Start executive director. “Many of the three- and four-year-olds we serve in Billings deal with substance abuse in their daily lives.” The neglect and trauma they suffer keeps these children from growing and developing at a normal pace,...

01 May

Giving kids a camera – and a voice

Put a camera in a child’s hand, Shannen Keene figures, and the young photographer can tell his or her own story in a compelling, even poignant way. And if that child has experienced abuse or neglect at home, the story that’s told becomes one that might move viewers to action. That’s the thinking behind Photovoice, an exhibit on display from 6 to 8 p.m. on April 12 at Yellowstone Art Museum, 401 N. 27th St. A reception...

05 Oct

Guest opinion: CASA runs on local gifts of time, money

Billings volunteer Diane Jung has given her time over five years to advocate for abused and neglected children. Recently, she decided to do more: Jung made a $30,000 gift to launch an endowment fund for CASA of Yellowstone County. Jung began volunteering as a court-appointed special advocate with CASA of Yellowstone County in 2011. She has since served as the courtroom advocate for 13 children placed in the state foster care systems due to abuse or neglect. Diane supports the...

17 Jun

Gazette opinion: Yellowstone County benefits with public-private partnerships

“All of my colleagues appreciate this program and appreciate your support,” District Judge Greg Todd told the commission. A year ago, the commission substantially increased funding to Yellowstone CASA. This year, Executive Director Cass Staton asked for the same amount: $155,000. http://billingsgazette.com/news/opinion/editorial/gazette-opinion/gazette-opinion-yellowstone-county-benefits-with-public-private-partnerships/article_a7c30ffd-882b-5666-a713-48843b868299.html ...