The National CASA Association recommends volunteers use the following strategies when advocating an ICPC case.
1. Determine if the out-of-state placement is in the best interest of the child.
If the goal for permanency for a child is reunification with a parent, then it is necessary and important for the child and that parent to visit often and for that parent to remain involved in the child's activities. If the child is placed with a relative in another state, reunification will be much more difficult. A placement should always be evaluated in terms of whether it will support or hinder the permanent plan for the child. If it does not facilitate the achievement of that goal, the volunteer should explore whether there are more appropriate options available.
2. Become educated about the Interstate Compact.
Program staff as well as volunteers should understand the requirements of the Compact. They should determine who is their state's Compact Administrator and make an effort to get to know that person. If there is not a state level administrator, they should know who at the local level assigns the cases for processing. The CASA program director should work closely with the court to make sure judges understand CASA?s appropriate role in these cases.
3. Be a squeaky wheel.
The volunteer can assertively advocate for the child's case to be processed as quickly as possible by closely tracking the case. Once the case is assigned to a social worker, the volunteer can make polite but firm inquiries about the status of the case, and can contact the Compact Administrator directly to urge prompt attention.
The volunteer can ask if information can be transmitted between agencies by fax or even telephone instead of waiting for reports and forms to arrive in the mail.
4. When possible, encourage the potential placement family to become proactive.
When the volunteer is able to contact the family who is the subject of the home study, the volunteer can encourage them to contact the agency instead of waiting to be contacted. The volunteer can also inform the family about what they will be required to provide in the way of documentation as part of the process. Things will move faster if they can have available documentation of marriage, employment, income, and health.
5. Inform the court of any unnecessary delays.
6. Remember to keep the child and his or her current caretakers informed about the current status of the case.
Much of the anxiety children experience is the result of not knowing what is happening. It is not always possible to tell a child what is going to happen, but providing any information that is known can help to alleviate to some extent the child?s fears.
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