The children/youth and families of CASA may need you now, more than ever. Since the school closures have gone into effect, along with restrictions and closures of community resources and heightened stress and anxiety for many, there has been a drop in the reports to child abuse hotlines. We know this is not because child abuse has diminished, but rather because many children and families are out of sight from caring adults who often make reports, such as teachers, counselors, and social workers. Children/youth served by CASA could benefit from the ongoing support of their Advocates for a listening ear, accessing resources, and making children visible during this time. We know that many types of abuse happen in isolation and encourage you to step up and stay present for the children/youth and families.
We can all benefit from an increased sense of community and connection during the shelter in place order. While it is the time for social distancing, it is also the time for social networking, social media, and strengthening our social capacity in ways we may never have experienced. As a child’s advocate, you can continue to be a consistent, calm, and positive presence in their life who models healthy reactions and coping skills to stressful feelings and life circumstances-promoting resilience.
Please follow all recommended guidelines of social distancing and shelter in place orders. While the expectation of weekly visits with your child/youth is waived at this time, we ask that Advocates stay in weekly contact with their child/youth/caregivers. We are encouraging and challenging our advocates to be creative in how they engage their child/youth, identify child/family needs, and maintain ongoing communication at this time. Please work with your supervisor directly on specific issues as they arise. Below is a list of some ideas. If you have something to add to the list, please email your CASA supervisor so we can share your great ideas with other advocates:
- Video call
- Set up virtual gaming play dates: candy crush, solitaire, words with friends, etc…
- Send cards or letters in the mail (do not lick stamps, envelopes, etc…)
- Record yourself reading a kid’s story and stream/text it to them
- Watch a movie at the same time using Netflix Party
- Stay connected and send short video messages using the Marco Polo App
- For more ideas: Virtual Visits
Court Hearings and Team Meetings
We ask that you do not attend Court or meetings as it relates to your CASA case. If you have an upcoming hearing, contact your Supervisor to make a plan to get them a draft of your report in advance of the due date. We will be providing oral updates from all CASA volunteers through the childrens' attorneys in writing. Also, note that many hearings will be continued and we will advise you once we hear from Court about future dates. The Court has maintained communication with our office regarding Court proceedings and they are currently working on setting up video/audio capacity to hold hearings.
Contacting my Supervisor
The CASA House is currently closed, however all staff are working remotely and can be contacted during regular business hours by calling the office (831) 761-2956. Our new automated phone system will provide you options on how to route your call directly to your supervisor. Supervisors will still be available and working hard to support advocates and child/youth needs, as they come up. Be sure to contact your supervisor by phone or email to notify them of a pressing need for your child/youth. Together, we can do this!