04 Jun

CASA Case Work: The Challenge of the Blind Spot

In an effort to help form good habits for navigating lane changes and turns, some drivers’ education programs use the SMOG acronym (signal, mirror, over-the-shoulder, go). Adapting the SMOG habit may be a helpful model as CASAs interact within the cultural environment of our children and those important to them. Just as in driving, we need to be sure to appreciate what might be in our blind spots. It starts with a “signal”. Our intention is to seek a safe and...

Self Care
23 May

Self Care

Self Care The work we do as CASA Advocates can take a toll on our emotional well-being. Working with families and kids who have experienced trauma can lead an Advocate to experiencing compassion fatigue. It is important to dedicate time to ourselves, and address our emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual needs. Here are some ideas for Self Care: Physical Self Care Drink plenty of water. Exercise. Stretch. Get a massage. Dance, swim, walk, run, or do some kind of fun physical activity. Get enough sleep. Take a bubble...

I am for the child with kids
01 May

10 Ways in Which I Am for the Child

In 2011, the National CASA Association launched the I am for the child campaign.  The campaign was designed as a catalyst to strengthen the CASA mission that every abused and neglected child have a volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocate by their side.  Therein lies my motivation as an advocate when the task seems daunting. 10 Ways in which I am for the child: I am the “one constant” in the child’s life, assisting with all transitions until the child achieves permanency. I fight diligently for the child’s right...

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...