IMPACT E-News January 2013



M P AE-News from CASA of Arizona  

Inclusion Mutual respect Professional development Accountability Collaboration Transparency

 

CASA of Arizona's information for statewide CASA staff, volunteers and supporters who share the vision of an advocate in court for every abused and neglected child in need of a safe, permanent home.

 

Issue 6

FEBRUARY 2013

Hello Reader,
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CASA State Office Update  
 
A roundup of important news and information from CASA of Arizona 
 
The New Year brings a number of innovative and exciting changes to the CASA program statewide. 
 
With a thriving and strong CASA program and dedicated staff leadership in place, the priorities for 2013 will focus on supporting county staff, increasing volunteer diversity and implementing cutting-edge training methods. 

At the state office, we know that it is the dedication of county leadership and committed volunteer advocates who ensure that Arizona's abused and neglected children have the safety net of an advocate on their side. 

As well, we know that your continued leadership and commitment helps us remain a strong and viable program that continues to improve the lives of even more children in out-of-home care.
 
That's why this year, we are investing in you. We're investing in training -- for both statewide staff and volunteers -- that will foster collaboration and alignment within our program. We're investing in training programs and outreach efforts that will focus on attracting more diverse volunteers to our organization. Also, we are investing in new technology that promises to provide flexibility and efficiency to our Advocacy Academies and training sessions.

CASA of Arizona is exploring the pilot from the National CASA Flex Learning Training Academy for new CASA volunteers who prefer the hybrid learning format. The pilot program will launch in Pinal and Yuma counties and will provide the mandatory 30 hours of training for new CASA volunteers as another option to the traditional classroom academy. Simultaneously, CASA of Arizona is scheduled to roll out a remote access training program by mid-year, which will allow incoming volunteers the option to attend academies each month through distance learning, instead of physically traveling to Phoenix or Tucson for initial training.

To make strides toward our goal of recruiting more diverse CASA volunteers, we will continue to rely on the guidance of our Committee on Diversity and Inclusiveness (CODI); we will create additional marketing materials which are focused toward diverse communities; and we will continue partnering and building relationships with a variety of groups and diverse leaders in our community to help raise awareness of the needs of children in out-of-home care. As well, we are preparing to roll out the Knowing Who You Are curriculum statewide, which will help volunteers support the healthy development of racial and ethnic identity of children in foster care.

The state CASA office looks forward to another successful year recruiting, training and supporting the critical work of CASA staff statewide and the volunteers who advocate for Arizona's abused and neglected children. With more than 14,000 children in out-of-home care, we have begun 2013 with an even greater amount of urgency. We continue to rely on your leadership and advocacy as we work together to help our children reach safe and permanent homes and build successful lives.

 

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Updates from National, State, County and Local Programs.                


Meet your new State Office staff

 

Andrew Salcido

Andrew Javier Salcido joined CASA of Arizona in Oct. 2012 as Training Specialist. Prior to this, he worked as an educational technology trainer and elementary teacher for the Mesa Unified School District. As an educational technology trainer, Andrew was responsible for designing and implementing a variety of technology initiatives using in-class and online training strategies, providing support for ongoing educational technology programs, and training teachers in various aspects of 21st century teaching techniques. As an educator, Andrew has helped touch the lives of many children and he hopes to continue doing this while working for CASA of Arizona. In his current position, Andrew is responsible for coordinating, conducting, and developing training during the Advocacy Academy and other training initiatives. His wealth of knowledge in educational technology will be used to assist in programs such as Flex Learning, Knowing Who You Are, and Distance Learning. He will also assist in creating online learning opportunities for CASA volunteers. In his free time, Andrew enjoys spending time with his wife and three beautiful girls, running and participating in various recreational sports.
  

Notes from National CASA

 

Addressing Racial Disproportionality & Disparity in Child Welfare    
 
Listen to a podcast from Judge Louis A. Trosch Jr. of the 26th Judicial District in Mecklenburg County, NC. as he discusses disproportionality and disparity in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Judge Trosch has worked extensively in these areas to have a positive impact on the problems.
 
National CASA Annual Conference
 
The National CASA annual conference will be held April 6-9, 2013 in Anaheim, Calif. More info here


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Spotlight on amazing Staff, Volunteers and Supporters.                


Yuma Program Coordinator finds success recruiting in churches





Recruiting new CASA volunteers can be tough -- and each county faces its own unique set of challenges.
 
But CASA of Yuma County Program Coordinator Dennis O'Rourke said the faith-based community is helping to change that for him. In fact, O'Rourke credits the church community for about 65 percent of his new CASA volunteers.
 
"Most people that go to church, they truly have good hearts and believe in protecting and helping children," O'Rourke said. "They throw down the red carpet when you come in there because they want to help abused and neglected children."
 
From January to April in 2013, O'Rourke plans to present and set up tables at 10 churches in Yuma County. He has either called or sent an e-mail to every church in the county and has visited a number of different faiths. O'Rourke also attends and speaks at the end of Catholic Spanish mass.

"One of Dennis' strengths is his ability to reach out to the community and build relationships," said Deputy Director of Juvenile Court Services Jolene Hefner. "This ability has opened doors, allowing him to recruit more volunteers than the program has seen in the last few years. Dennis also takes every opportunity to promote the CASA program and this has resulted in increased public awareness and dedicated volunteers."
 
A former life insurance sales representative, O'Rourke enjoys the challenge of going out into the community and recruiting volunteers. He is especially excited to do the recruiting work he loves for the specific benefit of abused and neglected children.

"Once you get in the door and start talking about CASA, it's easy," O'Rourke said. "I'm not nervous in the churches because oftentimes I'm sharing a message that the person I'm talking to believes in as much as I do."
 
O'Rourke has developed a system for his church outreach that involves some work before, during and after a presentation. 

He said that if he gets around 60 people who express interest and if he is able to reach them for follow up, then it will usually result in a meeting with about 20 people, interviews with about eight people and approximately six will end up at the academy.
 
"It's pretty amazing because when I go out to the churches to speak, I'll hear the priests, the deacons, the pastors talking about me during their sermons," O'Rourke said. "They'll let everyone know that Dennis from CASA is here and then they'll speak to the importance of helping abused and neglected children."
 
Christopher Johnson, Ph.D. has been volunteering with CASA of Yuma County for about a year-and-a-half and is impressed by the way O'Rourke successfully balances his recruiting efforts with making sure his volunteers have what they need.

"He approaches his role at the grassroots level," Johnson said. "He not only keeps our primary goal in mind, but also the volunteers who support that goal. He has been a strong program recruiter and his service to the program is solid."

For program coordinators who are looking to increase faith-based recruiting efforts in their counties, Dennis O'Rourke has offered to be a resource. He can be reached at do[email protected]     


 

CASA of Maricopa County Program Director Appointed to Board


CASA of Maricopa County Program Director Laurie Laughlin has been appointed as chair for the Confidential Intermediary Board. The role requires a two-year commitment. The Confidential Intermediary Program was established in 1992 and certifies Confidential Intermediaries (CIs) through the Certification and Licensing Division of the Arizona Supreme Court. CIs provide a service to help facilitate contact between parties of an adoption or siblings separated as a result of a dependency action.

  

CASA Volunteer Spotlight:

 

Maricopa County CASA volunteer commits hundreds of hours to her case


Yolanda Josey is a busy grandmother and full-time mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service, but that doesn't stop her making time for her CASA children. 

Josey, a CASA volunteer in Maricopa County, has been working on the same case for more than two years and has formed a special bond with the children for whom she advocates. 

"I would rather give up a couple of hours of sleep so that I can sleep a little easier knowing that my CASA child had a smile on his face today," Josey said. "Too many of these children do not have a reason to smile at all." 

Josey became a CASA volunteer in early 2010 while she was working part-time. As the oldest of nine children, she spent years helping care for her younger siblings, and with her own children grown, she was ready to spend her time volunteering. Josey discovered CASA on volunteermatch.com, along with a number of other opportunities to help children.

"I looked at other options, but I kept coming back to CASA," Josey said. 

Although her role has required her to travel lengthy distances and her case has been difficult, Josey is still glad that she chose CASA. 


Walter Menges, who is Josey's peer coordinator for CASA of Maricopa County, describes Josey as persistent and hardworking in her role as a volunteer.

"Yolanda is extremely dedicated to her child and is relentless in her advocacy," Menges said. "She has put in well over 400 hours of time and has literally traveled thousands of miles." 

Josey said that being a CASA volunteer with a full-time job is a challenge, but she can't imagine not being a part of the lives of her appointed children. 

"The amount of time it takes seems like nothing compared to the good you can do for this child," Josey said. "Each time the child has to start over with a new case manager, teacher, foster parent or anyone, it's hard on them. You can be the one to fill in the blanks for the new person and make yet another change go a little easier on the child." 

CASA of Arizona thanks Josey for her outstanding work as a volunteer and her commitment to her CASA child! Know an amazing volunteer? Let us know by e-mailing [email protected]!


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Training & Resources

 

 

Friendly Reminders For CASA Programs:

Customized Public Service Announcements to be Available
 
CASA of Arizona has created customized audio and video "I Am for the Child" Public Service Announcements to support county CASA program recruitment statewide. The PSAs are 30-second and 60-second versions for radio as well as a short video, which can be shown on local city government TV stations in each county. The video can also be shown during presentations and recruitment efforts. Once the PSAs are edited, each county will receive several copies by mail. If you have any questions, contact Katie Mayer at [email protected]
  
New CASA Advertisement Available
 
CASA of Arizona has created a new advertisement located in the "Marketing Materials" of the CASA of Arizona Web site. The advertisement can be tailored to each county and can be used as a poster, a print advertisement and leaflet. If your county would like a customized version, please submit a Customer Service Request "CSR".
 
Customer Service Request Form
 
County CASA programs, please remember if you need assistance from state office staff, you must submit a Customer Service Request form by visiting casaofarizona.org
and clicking the "programs" tab on the top right. This ensures that all requests are logged and priortized accordingly. If you forget your login and/or password, please contact Rand Rosenbaum at [email protected]
 
Friendly Reminders For CASA Volunteers:
 
Don't Forget! Online Training is Available for CASA Volunteers  
  
CASA volunteers can complete training hours online by watching a variety of videos and completing quizzes. The training covers 18 topics and is available here. CASA volunteers must be logged in to access the customized certificates. As a reminder, all CASA volunteers must complete 12 hours of training each calendar year.

 

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Updates, summaries and articles.
 

JUDGES CORNER 

 

Judge Builds Trust with Children in Courtroom and Community 

 

By Katie Mayer

 

Going to hearings is a little less scary for children in Santa Cruz County Juvenile Court, thanks to Presiding Judge Kimberly Corsaro.
  
Judge Corsaro not only brings a big heart to her work on the bench, but also a drawer filled with toys and books. As a result, the children in the courtroom trust her and often talk candidly about everything from loose teeth to how they feel in their placement. 
  
"Whether I make a decision that they agree with or they don't, including in delinquency cases, I'm not usually the bad guy," Judge Corsaro said. "I try very hard in court to explain why I make certain decisions, especially to the children. They are looking to the judge for answers and they might disagree, but at least they understand." 
  
Although Santa Cruz County is a small community, the dependency case work is far from simple. A number of cases cross the border, which means that, many times people who are not permitted to live in the U.S. legally, must still appear in court. Also, it means that U.S. children, are sometimes placed with family members in Mexico. Because of this, CPS and the court must work closely with Mexican officials. 
  
Judge Corsaro, who formerly practiced law in California and has family in Nogales, earned her undergraduate degree in Spanish and often uses Spanish in the courtroom. As a child, Judge Corsaro participated as an exchange student to Mexico, and during law school, she attended the Mexican Legal Studies Program through the University of Houston Law Center at La Universidad Panamericana in Mexico City. She has served as a juvenile court judge for Santa Cruz County since 1994. 
  
"Judge Corsaro is extremely well-respected by the young people in Santa Cruz County, not only on the bench, but also in the community," said Margie Fish, CASA of Santa Cruz County program coordinator. "Schools and organizations often ask her to speak at events or in their classrooms."  
  
 Judge Corsaro said she enjoys working in the community, and it is especially meaningful when she sees children from the courtroom thriving in their lives.
  
 "I was at an event with Judge Corsaro at a school one time," Fish said, "and when we were walking into the gym, a young lady with a big smile walked up to us and proudly introduced Judge Corsaro to her classmate by saying 'I'd like you to meet my judge!'" 
  
Corsaro said that it is moments such as these that inspire her every day -- but another source of inspiration is the CASA volunteers.  
"I rely on them as my eyes and ears because they can meet with and talk with people to know what is going on and see firsthand what is in the child's best interest," Judge Corsaro said. "I have not met a CASA volunteer yet who hasn't been sincere about a concern for a child." 
  
Corsaro recalls numerous cases where CASA volunteers made an impact. There was one volunteer who was able to secure a location for therapy for a traumatized child who was placed outside of the county, so that the child would not have to change therapists. There was another volunteer who worked on a project to improve communication regarding behavioral health services. And there was yet another volunteer who worked to build a tree house with a child. 
  
"I get goose bumps when I think of CASA volunteers because I feel so privileged to work with people who are so passionate about kids," Judge Corsaro said. "They can't fix things, but they sure can facilitate them for children." 
  
Judge Corsaro currently serves on the Arizona Supreme Court's Committee on Juvenile Courts and the Committee on Probation. She previously served two terms on the Committee on Child Support and is a member of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. 
  
In her free time, Judge Corsaro enjoys being a mother of two children and attending their soccer games and music and dance performances. She enjoys quilting and even uses her spare scraps to make baby blankets for infants in court and for the Wounded Warrior Project.

Looking for Some Information? Check Here.
 
National CASA has posted an extensive list of resources on child well being for programs and volunteers looking for information. This resource list includes key public sector and non-profit Web sites, policy statements & information memoranda, publications & articles on current issues and trends, as well as general resources.

Stories from county programs.

County Highlights & Happenings!  CHECK OUT each County's website for the most up-to-date information!  CLICK HERE to select a County Website, then click on News & Events.

 

CASA Volunteers and Children Enjoy Geocaching Excursion

Geocaching

CASA of Cochise County volunteers Bud Dragoo and Jan Dragoo recently took CASA children on a Geocaching outing. A real-world outdoor treasure hunt, Geocachers try to find hidden containers called Geocaches using a smartphone or GPS and can then share their experiences online with other treasure seekers. The Dragoos recommend doing this activity in a group, since some of the Geocaches are hidden in isolated locations. For more information on Geocaching go here.

 
CASA Staff and Volunteers Attend Martin Luther King Day Celebration 

MLK Day

CASA of Maricopa County volunteers (pictured at table from left to right: Kimberly Atkins, Sunny Wilkins and Adele James) joined CASA of Arizona at the Mesa Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration on Jan. 21, 2013 for a day of honoring Dr. King and sharing the importance of CASA with the local community. The full-day event brought nearly 200 people to the CASA table, some of whom were interested in volunteering. 

CASA Drop Box Link

CASA of Arizona Wants to Hear From You!

The State Office would like to know what you think! Click
the DROP BOX and share your thoughts about the CASA program.  You can remain anonymous, or you can give us your information so we may contact you to find out more or to simply say "thank you!"  We look forward to hearing from you!

For more information on IMPACT E-News or CASA of Arizona, please contact:

Katie Mayer,

Marketing and Outreach Specialist

CASA of Arizona

602-452-3683

[email protected]

 
 
In This Issue

- Meet Your New CASA Trainer

- National CASA News

- CASA Volunteer & Staff Spotlight

- Tips to Succeed in Faith-Based Recruiting Efforts

- Now Available! PSAs and Advertisements

- Judge Builds Trust with Children

 
Did your program, staff or volunteers do something great?

Let us know here
 

 
Quick Links

CASA of Arizona
National CASA