CASA Updates

20 May

One Constant

  When I signed on the dotted line, little did I know that ” I pledge to serve as the “one constant” for the child, assisting with all transitions until the child receives permanency” would lead me to still advocating for his wishes and well-being six years later. What has not been consistent during his years in foster care: He has changed schools 6 times. His judge has changed. His attorney has changed. His social worker has changed, although his current social worker has been on...

03 May

On Filing Cabinets

            One of the ongoing projects over the last few months at the CASA office has been, one by one when we find ourselves with a few minutes to spare, converting closed case files to a digital format.  Since our inception in 2003, CASA of Yellowstone County has retained case notes and documents related to cases, no matter how long ago they closed. We recently took the plunge to convert all those old files to a digital format in an...

21 Mar

The Importance of Self-Care and Timely Intervention

Last year, I was given a wonderful opportunity to intern at another local non-profit, within the organization’s sober living home. I had never truly had any experience working with people in recovery, and while it was extremely difficult on occasion, it was also equally rewarding. One of the most rewarding and influential aspects of the position was that I lived in the neighborhood alongside those I was working with. Their problems were my problems. Their wins were my wins. The...

12 Oct

Book Review: The Deepest Well

One of the most talked about books in the CASA of Yellowstone County office over the past couple of years is The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity by Nadine Burke Harris, M.D. (First Mariner Books, 2018).  This incredibly readable book, a quick 242 pages, describes the author’s journey from treating kids in San Francisco’s poorest neighborhood to speaking nationally about how trauma affects children of every socioeconomic level. Photo Credit: Cottonbro Where We’ve Come From             Burke Harris describes...

10 Sep

Building Powerhouse Habits

You would think that a blog about building habits would be January fare, but here we are, on the tail end of a hot Montana summer, and I’m going to talk about habits.  It seems like this summer has had almost all of the activity that would have happened in 2020 crammed together with usual 2021 summer things, combined handily with ridiculously hot temperatures and a pretty brutal fire season. Coming out of this busy season, many of us are...

10 Sep

Advocate Spotlight – Katie & Levi Gill

Katie & Levi Gill with their two sons, Jude and Caleb Married couple, Katie and Levi Gill became volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocates together in the summer of 2019. Leading up to that time, they both knew they wanted to get involved with a program benefiting kids, and had seen a lot of the advertising around town about CASA. Katie and Levi have a young family of their own, and Levi works out of state seasonally, so they decided to become...

19 Jun

My Father’s Day Thoughts

  Of course around Father’s Day my mind drifts towards thoughts of my dad.  He moved into his heavenly mansion on May 18, 2014.   After a short, but long, five month battle with cancer, the horrid disease took his life.  At this time I had already been pondering volunteer work as a Court Appointed Special Advocate.  This life altering tragedy just spurred me on. As I navigated my own grief as well as the grief of my mother, I realized that...

07 Apr

A Family Affair

  Jody and Forrest Crowl Meet Jody and Forrest Crowl, both CASAs—Jody with CASA of Yellowstone County and Forrest with CASA of Missoula.  As a mom/son dynamic duo of advocacy, Jody is just one of our Yellowstone County CASAs with a family member who is an advocate with a program elsewhere. Forrest led the way into advocacy.  Having been inspired by one of his law professors, Forrest became a CASA first.  And after hearing about his experience and from a friend who was...

19 Sep

Family Engagement Meeting Tips & Tricks

One of the tools used by Department social workers as they strive to keep families whole is the family engagement meeting, or FEM.  An FEM is a unique opportunity to bring together the adults in the child’s life, and sometimes even the child once the child is old enough, to hash through the issues before them. An FEM is one of the “firsts” that a CASA’s peer coordinator or program coordinator will attend with you.  But if it’s been a while...

30 May

CASAs and White, Male, and Binary Privileges

In January 2017, four Native Americans from Pryor drove to Reed Point to attend a basketball game.  They reported being denied entry to the game until a group of white Reed Point people were allowed into the school gym.  Although the Montana Human Rights Bureau subsequently found that there was no discrimination, merely a misunderstanding, it’s worth asking why such a story connects with another, more recent one, this time from Colorado. In early May, two young Native American men drove...