CASA Blog

28 Sep

Birthdays, Facebook & CASA

Did you know that you can help raise money for CASA of Yellowstone County – through Facebook? via CNN Money If you have a Facebook account with your date of birth listed, Facebook will send you a notification as your birthday approaches giving you the option to dedicate your special day to raising funds for a nonprofit organization of your choice. When you receive this notification, you can select CASA of Yellowstone County as the recipient, and your Facebook friends will have the option to donate to...

26 Sep

A Recommendation for the Advocate’s Bookshelf

  Image courtesy of J. Mack Effective advocacy work requires CASAs to take cultural competency seriously. Our training manual cautions, “What you do not understand may lead to inaccurate interpretations.” One way we can appreciate an unfamiliar culture is through the medium of good storytelling. A talented author can use words to paint a cultural experience that can memorably enlighten the reader’s heart and mind. There There: A Novel, by Tommy Orange, is an example of informative and impactful storytelling. There There shines...

04 Sep

An Open Letter to My CASA Kiddos

quotefancy.com   Dearest Kiddos, The day I received my case appointment papers was the day you were officially mine.  You were my responsibility.  I agreed to give you a voice; a sense of belonging; a sufficient, safe home; a constant presence until you received permanency.  I did not realize at that time what I would glean from you.  You have become one of my greatest blessings. As I look back on the years that we navigated the legal system together, I acknowledge that I...

time
22 Aug

If You Can’t Volunteer

The support for the work of Court Appointed Special Advocates in our community is overwhelming. Many people are not only familiar with the name “CASA,” but also the work that these CASAs do — advocating for abused and neglected children in the foster care system. This is due in part to the organization’s constant efforts to recruit new volunteers, but also largely thanks to the visibility of our current Advocates in informing their family, friends, and professional circles about their...

16 Aug

Beating the Courtroom Jitters

“You mean I have to speak in court?” “How will I know what to say?” “What if I forget to say something I meant to?” For Court Appointed Special Advocates, attending hearings can be one of the most intimidating aspects of advocacy.  But with a little bit of preparation, you might find that hearings are a breeze.  Here are a handful of tips and tricks to navigating the courthouse, from the CASA office and a few local legal professionals. www.pixabay.com Prep Work Let’s face it—the courthouse...

report writing
09 Aug

A Report Writing Cheat Sheet

Spoiler alert–I can’t give you what you might want from a report writing cheat sheet, namely a function key on the top row of your keyboard that reads “write reports.”  But what I can give is the next best thing, some thoughts about the process of writing reports and some suggestions to make the process go more effectively for you.  Let me break things down. Process, Purpose and Audience On a recent weekend I decided to take my Jeep for a jaunt...

Drive for 25
28 Jun

Peer Coordinators: In Their Own Words

One of many things that makes the CASA program unique among volunteer organizations is the opportunity for leadership, through the ability to become a Peer Coordinator. Peer Coordinators, or PCs, are defined by the National Court Appointed Special Advocates Association as “volunteers coordinating other volunteers.” Each Peer Coordinator’s role is to provide coaching to CASAs as they work together to ensure that children receive quality advocacy. In addition to providing better support for Advocates, Peer Coordinators allow the organization to serve more...

21 Jun

About Those First Visits with the Child…

As Court Appointed Special Advocates, we are appointed by a Judge to serve as the investigative arm of the court and we become the voice of the child.  One of the pledges we take at the onset of our case is to see the child a minimum of once per month.  This initial meeting may cause some anxiety on both sides.  The following are some tips and thoughts to assist in making this first impression a lasting one. First, it is...

Florida Project
11 Jun

2018 Academy Awards Touch CASA Sensitivties

Film Review: “The Florida Project” This special movie handles complex social and economic realities with balance and subtlety. It is summer vacation for kids who live in a cheap hotel a few miles from Disney World. There is irony in the disparity of those two worlds that eventually suggests escape. Moonie, the 6 year old main character, leads her friends on many adventures that on the surface appear like kids being kids, but from another perspective, are the result of challenged...

08 Jun

ACEs: A Research Overview

When I was a 25-year-old Peace Corps volunteer teaching English in a Ukrainian public school, I found myself stymied by one of my students.  I don’t recall his name—Andriy or Sergei or Valeriy—but I still recall the day that I finally noticed something was wrong.  The boy who I’ll call Andriy was in sixth grade.  I had taught him for the last half of fifth grade, as well, at which time he was a cheerful kid who paid attention and...