CASA Blog

11 Jun

A Little Criticism Goes A Long Way

via iMom As CASAs, how about striving to inspire and lift up the spirits of our kiddos? These little people come from environments that are full of criticizing and scolding. Their ears have heard domestic violence in one form or another. They have experienced hot tempers and vulgarity due to traumatic situations. Voices have escalated and the little beings have been caught in the middle. Even if the rage was not toward them directly, they still suffer the negative consequences. The abused...

07 May

Why CASAs Matter: The Judges’ Perspective

Over the course of their work, Court Appointed Special Advocates often hear that their work matters, that they have made a difference. But what kind of difference? After all, it is not the Advocates themselves who make the decisions about these kids’ lives. The judges of the 13th District Court make those tough decisions. Hon. Jessica T. Fehr speaking at a lunchtime training event in the CASA office on February 12, 2019. At recent CASA events, several of those judges spoke about...

01 May

Yellowstone Valley Gives & CASA

April was an important month for CASA of Yellowstone County, as we dedicate it each year to recognizing Child Abuse Prevention Month. This allows our organization to make a special push for awareness of the issues that are sadly all too common in the cases served by our Court Appointed Special Advocates. This increased awareness often translates to greater interest from individuals in the possibility of volunteering as an Advocate, as well as an influx in donations which in turn...

24 Apr

Aging out of Foster Care: Improving Outcomes and the Importance of Education

Being in foster care as a child is never a great situation. And by now, I’m sure we’ve all heard the terrible statistics for kids who “age out” of foster care. The kids for whom no permanency was ever found simply turn 18 and are sent off into the adult world to fend for themselves. Most reports state between 20,000-30,000 kids age out every year around the country, and they are categorized federally as Transitional Age Youth. As you can...

29 Mar

Cultural Competence and the Cycle of Socialization

On the wall of the CASA of Yellowstone County training room are several posters reminding us that Court Appointed Special Advocates need to exercise cultural competence. Two of those posters read: Ethnic and cultural background influences an individual’s attitudes, beliefs, values and behaviors. Each family’s characteristics reflect adaptation to its primary culture and the majority culture, the family’s unique environment and the composite of the...

04 Mar

Two Months In

On February 28, our office received the initial court documents for DN 19-065. To most people, that string of letters and numbers would have little significance, but in fact it tells us a lot. The DN stands for Dependency & Neglect, which is the type of legal proceeding that pertains to children being removed from their home due to abuse or neglect. The 19 is probably the easiest to figure out, as it’s just the year that the case was...

19 Feb

Billings Proud

(via TripAdvisor) I know our system is far from perfect. I know our city is increasingly riddled with crime. I know the task ahead is unsurmountable if acting alone. I know if I focus on the negative, I will lose hope. It is all in how we choose to see it. As I have been out and about as a CASA seeking to make a small contribution to my community, I continually see a community of which I am proud to...

26 Nov

On the Eve of Giving Tuesday

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...

21 Nov

A Peek Behind the Doors of Family Drug Court

Parents shuffle into Judge Gregory R. Todd’s courtroom in the Yellowstone County courthouse. They are the participants of Yellowstone County Family Drug Treatment Court (FDTC), and they are in the midst of a long journey. Each of these parents has a child or children who have been removed from their care by Child & Family Services because of the parent’s drug or alcohol use. The parents have voluntarily been inducted into FDTC, which is a team-based, non-adversarial approach to building participants’...

Baseball
15 Nov

Being a CASA: A Man’s Perspective

In Yellowstone County there are 142 Court Appointed Special Advocates: 120 are women, 22 are men. Why are there so few men? It’s a question that comes up often. I decided to see what the answers might be, so I reached out to advocates from both genders for their insights. What I thought would be a fairly straightforward investigation has proven less so, however.  Asking the question of others has encouraged me to ask the question of myself. I began my...