IMPACT E-News November 2014

State Office Updates

A New Look for CASA of Arizona

CASA of Arizona is excited to announce the arrival of its 2015 collateral containing a new design scheme, as seen in this newsletter! County programs can request copies of the new brochures and media kits to use in their outreach efforts by submitting a Customer Service Request (CSR) on the CASA of Arizona website.

If an outside agency or organization is also interested in promoting or displaying CASA materials, please contact us here.

State Office Provides Record Number of Academies


We are proud to report that the number of training opportunities provided by the State Office continues to grow substantially. CASA of Arizona provided 11 Advocacy Academies in 2013, 25 Academies in 2014, and currently has 37 Academies scheduled for 2015.


We also wish to extend a big thank you to all the staff and advocate support involved with our new Academy - the CASA of Pima County program team, CASA of Maricopa county program staff and peer coordinators, and Tracy Sauer.


Also, this is a reminder that staff/peer coordinator training can be scheduled by request for a minimum of 5 participants.

A current training calendar can be accessed anytime on the Wiki.

Welcomes and Introductions

In the past few months, we have been pleased to welcome several new county staff to the CASA team. 

Please feel free to extend a warm welcome to Michelle Ashley (Yavapai), Abigail Dodge (Cochise), Davalene Flowers,(Yavapai), David Franklin (Pinal), Maiya Griffin-Thomas (Maricopa), Sharon Hopkins (Maricopa), Cindy Miller (Yavapai), Laura Pahules (Maricopa), Misty Peterson (Maricopa), Mia Sanchez (Maricopa), and Charlotte Winder (Yavapai).
County Program Highlights
Farewell Wishes to County Staff
In the past quarter, several county program staff have retired or resigned for new positions and opportunities. While we will miss each and every one of them, we also wish them the absolute best in their future endeavors.

Join us in thanking Kirk Grugel-Short (Navajo), Sativa Castellucci (La Paz), Myla Smith (Yavapai), Holly Prasetio (Maricopa), Cherie Boone (Maricopa), Kourtney Greving (Maricopa), and Rita Laird (Maricopa) for their dedication and service to children.

CASA of Yavapai County Receives Award from the Arizona Supreme Court

On Tuesday, October 21st, the Dependency Program Office of the Superior Court in Yavapai County was presented with the 2014 Strategic Agenda Award in the General Jurisdiction category for Protecting Children, Families, and Communities at the Arizona Supreme Court's Leadership Luncheon.

"I am particularly proud of our CASA Program.  The Board of Supervisors agreed to fund one of the positions in this budget cycle and, in spite of difficulties, everyone has performed exemplary for the children and families of Yavapai County.  I am grateful that the Chief Justice Scott Bales of the Arizona Supreme Court and the Strategic Agenda Awards Committee saw fit bestow this statewide honor on Tracy Sauer and her staff," said Honorable David Mackey, Presiding Judge of Yavapai County Superior Court.

The Dependency Program Office oversees three vital programs including CASA, the Dependency Court Improvement Program, and the Family Treatment Court Program. A team of fewer than five full-time equivalent personnel oversee these programs that protect children, families, and communities.


Join us in congratulating the Dependency Program Office staff and CASA of Yavapai County team for this well deserved honor!

Pictured from left to right are:  Presiding Juvenile Judge Anna Young, Mike Wade, Tracy Sauer, Quinci Castleberry, Lynda Ransom, and Chief Justice Scott Bales.  Kristi  Newman from CASA was unable to attend as she had work scheduled in Court that day.     

Gearing Up for Media Outreach
Submitted by Krissa Ericson, CASA of Pima County

We are excited that Harkins Theaters has started to run our ad to recruit advocates (pictured at right) ! We will be ramping up our media outreach efforts thanks to funding we received through our National CASA grant. Currently we are working with local television stations to settle a contract to produce and run a CASA of Pima County commercial for 5 months! We are also finalizing plans to have an 8-9 minute professional video produced for us to use in a variety of venues.  

We appreciate the support of National CASA through the local programs grant. 2014 has already been a great year of recruitment and training of new advocates; these efforts will help us continue this momentum into 2015 and beyond.

Adoption Day in the Park
Submitted by Krissa Ericson, CASA of Pima County

Several CASA advocates donated goodies for the cake walk that took place during our annual Adoption Day in the park on November 8th. We had several CASA staff volunteering at the event. It is always such an exciting event that celebrates forever families for our children. We were privileged to have Charles Flanagan join us to witness this day, and most importantly 99 children were adopted.


Pictured at right is Judge Kettlewell, Charles Flanagan, and Chris Swenson-Smith. 

All Smiles at the Pinal County Superior Courthouse
Submitted by Dave Franklin, CASA of Pinal County

Saturday, November 1st was a magical day at the Pinal County Superior Courthouse as families welcomed their newest members. The Courthouse was alive with the sound of joy and laughter as 29 families, 6 judges and 80 plus volunteers and court staff collaborated to make this incredible event happen. As a result, the lives of 38 children took a sharp turn off of a road marred with uncertainty onto a road filled with hope and promise. And the lives of countless community members were forever changed. 


Volunteers consisted of CASA advocates, students from Central Arizona College and Arizona State University, Home of Hope students, Pinal County Community Advisory Board (CAB) members, Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation members, Knights of Columbus, Pinal Council for CASA/Foster, Inc. board members, as well as other distinguished members of the community. The volunteers were joined by six Superior Court Judges including: Judges Figueroa, Oldham, White, Eppich, Raymond and Judge Scales from Gila County. State, County and Private Attorneys, Arizona Department of Child Safety Case Workers, Juvenile Court Services staff and an array of other court employees (bailiffs, clerk's office, court reporters, etc.) helped throughout the day.


For most, proceedings at a courthouse are not typically joyful occasions. The course of events that lead to adoption are typically not positive, making courthouse visits usually filled with anxiety and frustration. But on this beautiful Saturday morning the courthouse was a place of celebration and achievement, a day when the hard work of many has finally paid off. As a result, these children will never look at this courthouse the same way again!  


In fact, if they didn't know any better they may have thought that they were at a amusement park rather than a courthouse. There were clowns, fun and games, decorations were strewn throughout the lobby, cameras were going off in courtrooms throughout the building, food and refreshments were being served in the jury room and fun was being had by all.


It was truly an amazing day at the "Little Courthouse That Could." When asked to explain what Adoption Day meant to her, one of the adopting parents, Michele Reimer, summed up the overall sentiments of everyone who was present for this wondrous occasion, when she said that "Adoption Day means that my family is finally complete. Our girls have given us so much and we are so thankful that we get them in our hearts and family forever."

Quality Training Means More Educated Advocates
Submitted by Donna McBride, CASA of Pinal County

The CASA of Pinal County team has been working hard to provide the best training opportunities to their CASA volunteers. During their annual planning session last January, they looked at how to bring volunteers together in the best interest of time, provide quality training topics and help them meet the requirements for training hours.   


The result? Creating a Training booklet of articles, a check-out CASA library and two full-day trainings that would take place each spring and fall.  


The trainings, covering nearly seven hours each, meant that if volunteers did nothing else but attend the two trainings, they could accomplish the required hours. But just as important has been to provide good, solid training based on what the volunteers were requesting. 


The Fall Training took place on October 4th with 30 volunteers and staff present, including several from local Foster Care Review Boards (FCRB). Topics included:

  • Compassion Fatigue
  • CASA Ambassador Program Debut
  • Micro Aggression: Did I really say that?                
  • Adoption: How it All Comes Together
  • Words from the Heart: Sycamore Canyon Students
  • Local and state CASA updates

The highlight of the day was the panel with Sycamore Canyon students. Five young men shared their stories and how they ended up at the facility. There were candid confessions, stories and compelling questions. In closing up the session, one young man reminded the group, "We know there are a lot of 2 and 3 year olds that need a CASA, but don't forget we need you too. We need a voice for us." Needless to say, there were not many dry eyes in the room.


The reviews were outstanding. Networking coupled by quality speakers and topics made the day disappear quickly. One volunteer said, "This is the best training I've ever attended."

City of Maricopa POD Finds Value in Networking
Submitted by Donna McBride, CASA of Pinal County

The CASA volunteers from the CIty of Maricopa have come together to start a POD group. POD (Peers Offering Discussion) groups started in Pinal County last year as a way for CASA volunteers to network in their own community.


The Maricopa POD meets just about once per month for training, networking and individualized support. Through the generosity of the owners of Honeycutt Coffee in Maricopa, the group is able to meet after business hours. This provides a great place to meet and is private enough for our needs. 

Speakers come in to provide information and training on a variety of topics. Most recently we had a representative from Pinal County
Parents as Teachers speak about their program. 

We also discuss what is happening in our cases, while maintaining confidentiality. This group also allows us to lean on each other for advice and suggestions about how to handle case related issues. CASA volunteer, Amber Johnson (pictured above) of Maricopa spearheaded the POD and feels "It has been an amazing way to connect with people who understand what we see every day through our volunteer work as well as a source of support and encouragement for all of us."

Good job Maricopa!

Mark Your Calendars!
AZ Child Fatality Review Annual Report Available

The Arizona Child Fatality Review Program explores the causes and contributing factors associated with child deaths in order to identify recommendations addressing preventable fatalities of children based upon this collection of work. 

As found in the most recent report:
  • Child fatalities due to maltreatment increased to 92 deaths in 2013 from 70 deaths in 2012.
  • Eighty percent of children who died due to maltreatment were less than 5 years old.
  • In 36 percent of maltreatment deaths, the perpetrator was the child's mother or father.
  • Substance use was associated with 51 maltreatment deaths.
  • In 2012, 11 of the deaths had a case open with a child protective services agency at the time of death; in 2013, 22 deaths had an open case with a child protection services agency at the time of death.
To view the full report, including additional findings as well as recommendations to prevent maltreatment deaths, click here.
Tutoring Awards Available for Foster Children

Did you know that the Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation (AFFCF) offers a tutoring program? AFFCF gives out tutoring monies (awards) of $500 for each authorization PER child. 

Each child can have 4 authorizations per calendar year of tutoring. This equates to anywhere from 12.5 to 20 hrs of tutoring per authorization depending upon the tutoring provider chosen by the foster parent - up to 80 hrs per year. 

To apply, the foster parent can go to the AFFCF website, click on the "General Awards" tab, then Preferred Vendors, then Award Application. They can download and fill out the form, then fax directly to AFFCF at 623-487-3392. 

The application does not require the case manager's signature but the case manager must call AFFCF to verify that the children are still in foster care after the application is submitted. The approval process takes around 2 weeks depending upon their case load. Once approved, the foster parent is mailed a check, and then provides that check to the tutoring provider.

Psychotropic Medications for Youth in Foster Care

The Children's Bureau has published a new guide on managing psychotropic medications written specifically for youth in foster care: Making Healthy Choices: A Guide on Psychotropic Medications for Youth in Foster Care. The guide (available in English and Spanish) was developed for the youth audience and can serve as a valuable discussion tool for child welfare professionals, foster parents, clinicians, health care providers, mentors, and others working with youth. 

Applications Open for 2015 CCAI Foster Youth Internships

The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) is accepting
applications for the 2015 Foster Youth Internship program.

Each summer, CCAI Foster Youth Interns spend 2 months in Washington, D.C. interning for a Member of Congress and writing a Congressional policy report. The application deadline is Friday, January 9, 2015.

Find more information about the program and access the application form on the CCAI site.

Check Out These Links to Other Resources

Angels on Patrol | 602-541-4529

Mission: Providing resources to families and children in need as identified by Tempe and Phoenix Police Officers.


Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation (AFFCF) | 602-252-9445

Whether it's tutoring to catch children up to grade level, music and dance lessons or sports equipment (and more!), our simple awards help children in foster care in Arizona experience the kind of childhood every child deserves. 


Feeding Matters | 623-242-5234

Mission: To bring pediatric feeding struggles to the forefront so infants and children are identified early, families' voices are heard, and medical professionals are equipped to deliver collaborative care.


Bikers Against Child Abuse (B.A.C.A) | Info Line: 1-866-71-ABUSE 

Maricopa County

1-800-371-9755 | [email protected]

Pima County

1-877-235-7268 | [email protected] 

Photo Gallery

CASA volunteers in La Paz County participated in the Walk Against Domestic Violence on October 4th.
On October 18th, CASA volunteers and staff across the state attended a foster care awareness concert featuring National CASA spokesman, Jimmy Wayne! Sincere thanks to the Arizona Diamondbacks Fostering Hope team for organizing this amazing event.

On October 27th, CASA of Maricopa County held its annual training day at the Arizona Supreme Court.

Staff and advocates from CASA of Pima County tabled at the recent Tucson Meet Yourself event.

CASA of La Paz County staff and volunteers participated in the Red Ribbon Days event in October.

CASA programs in both Pinal and Pima Counties created family trees for recent outreach events. Children were asked to decorate a leaf with a word or feeling that describes "family" and the final results turned out beautiful and moving!

CASA of Arizona | 602-452-3683 | [email protected] |
1501 W. Washington Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85007

Issue 13 | Nov. 2014

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In This Issue

  • State Office Updates
  • Farewell to County Staff
  • CASA of Yavapai County Receives Special Award
  • Save the Date: AZ Summit of Volunteerism
  • Annual AZ Child Fatality Review Report
  • Tutoring Awards Available for Foster Youth
  • Photo Gallery

In Case You Missed It
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AZ Child Abuse Hotline
YOU may be a child's only advocate at the time you report the possibility of abuse or neglect.

If a child tells you of such experiences, or if you suspect abuse or neglect, act to protect that child by calling the toll free Arizona Child Abuse Hotline at:


More info on the reporting process can be found here.
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