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[ location]CASA Information Meeting. Introductions. [Your Name] CASA Program Coordinator Share your name and how you heard about [Location] CASA. Today’s Meeting. What is a CASA volunteer? What does it takes to be a CASA volunteer? Is becoming a CASA volunteer right for you?

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[location]CASA

Information Meeting

slide2
Introductions

[Your Name]

CASA Program Coordinator

Share your name and how you heard about

[Location] CASA

slide3
Today’s Meeting

What is a CASA volunteer?

What does it takes to be a CASA volunteer?

Is becoming a CASA volunteer right for you?

How do you become a CASA volunteer?

Your questions

slide4
History of CASa

1977, Judge David Soukup, Seattle, WA.

  • Appointed by a judge
  • Given access to all records & resources
  • Spends more time with child

http://www.casaforchildren.org/site/c.mtJSJ7MPIsE/b.5301303/k.6FB1/About_Us__CASA_for_Children.htm

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Alaska CASA History

1987, Alaska CASA began

Tribal

State

Tribal & State

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What does a casa volunteer do?
  • Research
    • Get a clear picture of the case
  • Facilitate
    • Ensure progression towards permanency
  • Advocate
    • Report to the court
    • Speak to the best interest of the child
  • Monitor
    • Ensure child’s needs are met
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What a casa volunteer is not

A best friend or “Big Brother/Big Sister”

A babysitter

A parent advocate

An attorney (representing what the child wants)

A social worker/ICWA worker (representing the position of OCS or the Tribe)

Responsible for providing transportation to family contact appointments

Responsible for supervising family contact between parents and child

Required to take the child on outings

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What does it take?

Commitment

Objectivity

Perseverance and dedication

Good communication skills

Ability to adhere to strict confidentiality

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Confidentiality & conflicts of interest

Confidentiality

  • CASA volunteers may not share case information with anyone outside the case (e.g. family, friends, work colleagues)
  • CASA volunteers may not introduce their CASA child to spouses, family, friends, etc

Conflict of Interest

  • CASA volunteers may not be closely related to the child or the family
  • CASA volunteers may not know the child or the family well (either personally or professionally)
slide10
Essential Advocate expectations

Twice a month contact with child

Communicate monthly with staff

Participate in court hearings and other case meetings

Complete monthly reporting requirements

Remain an active advocate until case closure

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How do CASA Children “enter the system”?

TRIBAL COURT

Report of harm filed

Investigation

Petition submitted to Tribal Court – CINA case

Tribal Court Judges order a CASA volunteer be assigned

CASA program coordinator assigns a CASA volunteer

STATE COURT

Report of suspected child abuse/neglect

Investigation

State Court intervention – CINA case

GAL assigned to the case

CASA volunteer assigned when available

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Why are casa volunteers needed?
  • High rates of child abuse/neglect in Alaska
  • CASA volunteers are assigned to less than 15% of all children in custody
  • CASA volunteers improve case outcomes
  • Tribal Court – only advocate for child/youth
  • State Court – special skill set/GAL out of area
  • Every child/youth deserves to have someone who is there ONLY for them and to be a consistent person during their time in care.
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Cultural Competence:

Why is it Important?

Work with a wide range of people; their backgrounds may not be similar to ours

Youth may be separated from their culture and communities

CASA volunteers can

  • Support family connections
  • Locate cultural groups/activities/ resources
  • Advocate to preserve culture
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Cultural Competence:

Why is it Important?

Overrepresentation

  • High percentage of Alaska Native children and youth in custody
  • Limited Alaska Native foster homes

Youth lose cultural identity

Indian Child Welfare Act

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Is the CASA program right for me?
  • Do I have the time?
  • Can I be objective?
  • Is this the way I want to help abused and neglected children?
  • How will I handle the information that I learn about my CASA child?
  • Am I willing to invest my time, energy, and emotions when I might never know the impact I have made?
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How do I become a CASA volunteer?

Screening Process

  • Attend an information meeting
  • Submit a written application
  • Participate in a personal interview
  • Undergo a background check
      • Personal Reference Check
      • Criminal Background Check
      • Child Protection Check
      • Social Security Verification

Training Process

  • Complete CASA core training (30+ hours)
  • Attend at least one court observation
  • Sworn in by both tribal & state court judges
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CORE Training
  • 40 hours course (AK CASA & KIT)
    • Must attend all sessions
    • Must complete all assigned work
    • Arrive on time; stay for entire session
    • Complete at least one court observation

NEXT TRAINING: February 2015

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permanency

CASA volunteers work to ensure that a child’s time frame is in the forefront to achieving one of the following:

  • Return to parent
  • Adoption
  • Guardianship
  • Another permanent planned living arrangement
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Ending A Case

Permanency achieved

CASA volunteer says goodbye

File returned

Case closed!!

CASA volunteer matched with a new case…

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FOSTERING FUTURES ALASKA

Fostering Futures Alaska is an initiative launched by Alaska CASA in 2014, supported by a grant from the National CASA Association.

The goal is to train and equip CASA volunteers from around the state to work alongside older foster youth to improve outcomes as the youth transition into adulthood.

Fostering Futures volunteers serve as a mentor in addition to an advocate.

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HOW DO I BECOME A FOSTERING FUTURES VOLUNTEER?

Complete the screening and training process required to be sworn in as a CASA volunteer.

Fill out the one page supplemental application form for Fostering Futures Alaska.

Successfully complete the Fostering Futures training course.

Get matched with a foster youth (age 14 – 21).

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WHERE CAN I LEARN MORE?

Visit the Fostering Futures page on our website:

http://alaskacasa.org/FosteringFuturesAK.aspx