Letter from the Executive Director
One of the obstacles faced by child welfare professionals is the lack of continuity in reporting at both a state and national level. Without a national standard for reporting categories such as incidences of abuse or number of placements, it can be difficult to determine if the statistics are measuring the same issues. For example: When reporting abuse, one must inquire if reports of abuse are counted by the number of children abused or by the number of abuses reported- even if there are multiple reports of abuse for the same child.When considering the number of placements a child has had, the state of Florida purges previous placement information each time a child moves to a new placement, making the type and number of placements difficult to track. Inaccurate reporting and a lack of reporting standards make it challenging to assess the circumstances of our children as a whole.

As a CASA, your role in reporting is an extremely important attribute of your total role as a child advocate. We rely on you to share accurate reports with your supervisor and the courts. These reports are critical to Voices' ability to work with local, state and national child welfare constituents so that we may participate in the well being outcomes of our kids in an accurate and timely manner. Soon you will be asked to complete a well being survey on your kiddos which will contribute to national statistics and may help to make a positive impact on the national reporting challenges.

As always, thank you for advocating for each and every kiddo in protective custody. You are making an enormous difference in their lives.

 
Steve Moergen
Executive Director  
 
Continuing Education
Opportunities to Earn Your Annual CE Credits
 
New Books in Lending Library!
  • City of One,  by Francine Cournos
  • Hillbilly Elegy, by J.D. Vance
City of One is Francine Cournos' memoir of childhood loss and adult redemption. 
A "moving story of the ways in which after much struggle and with considerable help from others, the injured child living in a foster home grew to become a happy and successful adult."

Hillbilly Elegy is a "passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis-that of white working-class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck."

Info for logging your credits in OPTIMA:
Training Topic  - Foster care, abuse/neglect effects
Format:  Book
Trainer  - Mass Media; Voices endorsed-Voices CASA Chronicle
2CEs
 
Contact Cheryl Latham, Director of Volunteer Programs at cdlatham@voices-stl.org or 314-615-4543 if you have questions.




Volunteer Spotlight
Kara McCombs

Kara McCombs has been a dedicated CASA volunteer with Voices since 2011.  Her dedication and support were recently recognized by her employer, Mastercard, through their "Mastercard Cares" initiative.  Kara received an outstanding service award.  With the award came a gift of $1,000 for the charity of her choice. Thank you, Kara, for your commitment to our kids and for sharing your gift with Voices!
Advocacy Resources
Books, Websites and Relevant Info for Your CASA Work

Cardinal Glennon Fostering Healthy Children
 
Children placed in the foster care system are among the most vulnerable members of our society.  These children generally come from families with the few psycho-social and financial resources and experience higher rates of serious emotional and behavioral problems, chronic physical disabilities, developmental delays and poor school performance. 

Fostering Healthy Children seeks to improve the health and well-being outcomes of children (birth -12 years of age) in foster care.

Services provided:
  • entry to care health exam
  • comprehensive health assessment
  • standardized developmental screening
  • in clinic mental health evaluation
  • counseling recommendations, referral and treatment
  • Sub-specialty referrals
  • Ongoing primary care throughout placement, extending into reunification

Contact:

Donna Erickson, LCSW

Program Clinical Coordinator

314-678-5475

donna_erickson@ssmhc.com

 
Policy Refresher
Confidentiality

Voices for Children is committed to respecting the child's right to privacy by maintaining confidentiality in a manner that is consistent with applicable laws and regulations.  CASA/GAL volunteers are responsible for maintaining confidentiality of all information to which they are exposed while serving as a volunteer. Any information pertaining to the individual families or children that the CASA/GAL volunteer receives in the discharge of his or her duties is confidential and must not be used for any purpose other than advocating for the child(ren) on the case to which they are assigned.

 Volunteers must respect children's and families' rights to privacy and are forbidden from sharing each family's personal information.
  1. The volunteer holds any information received from any source to be confidential, which shall not be disclosed, except to the court and, where allowed by the court, to any party to the proceedings.
  2. The volunteer shall not reveal to anyone, except his or her supervisor, the name of any person who has made a report of suspected child abuse or neglect.
  3. Confidential information shall only be shared with the volunteer's supervisor.
  4. Disclosure of any information to any party should first be discussed with the volunteer's supervisor.
  5. Case records and notes shall be secured and kept private and inaccessible to public view.
  6. Discussions of case-related material are not to be held in hallways, elevators or other public places.
  7. The volunteer shall respect the child's right to privacy by maintaining confidentiality. The volunteer shall only share information the child has permitted the volunteer to share or information that will affect the health, safety or well-being of the child. The volunteer should share all information from the child with his or her supervisor. These policies should be explained to the child at the volunteer's first meeting with the child.
  8. No one outside of Voices for Children's personnel may have access to a CASA case record without a court order.
(For more information regarding Voices' policy on confidentiality, refer to your volunteer handbook.)
 


Program Dashboard
Statistics as of November 30, 2016

313

Voices CASA volunteers
409

kids served by Voices CASA volunteers and staff
347

kids served by Voices staff
756

total kids served by Voices


 
Maximizing Optima

Tax Reports from Optima:
 
If you've been using the Mileage and Expenses section of Optima and you'd like a copy of your report for tax deductions, please email optima@voices-stl.org.
 
Great Circle
"Fostering Futures" Program

The Fostering Futures program at Great Circle provides services to children ages 2 to 18 who are living in an out-of-home placement, a foster home, or a more traditional home setting and are at risk of being removed from their current placement and/or educational setting due to challenging behaviors and/or significant mental health concerns. They pair a therapist and behavior interventionist together to provide home and school visits, in-home individual and family therapy and 24/7 availability to clients in times of crisis.
 
 
Learn more here, or contact Katie O'Brien, Supervisor of Fostering Futures, at (844) 424-3577.


Upcoming Events

"Cakes for CASA", hosted by SLU fraternity, Kappa Alpha Theta, is an annual all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast benefiting Voices for Children. Mark your calendars and join us for this fun event!

Sunday, February 19
10 am - 1 pm
DeMattias Hall, Multipurpose Room, SLU campus
$5 per person- tickets can be purchased at the door
Metered parking is availble along Vandeventer and is free on Sundays