Letter from the Executive Director  
 
Several months ago, a representative from the national non-profit organization Children's Rights reached out to Voices' leadership to discuss Children's Rights' potential involvement in Missouri and how it may impact the youth Voices serves.  Children's Rights, founded in 1995, is committed to addressing systemic issues that challenge the child welfare system in the United States.  Children's Rights uses the law to hold governments accountable and has secured court orders mandating reform of the child welfare system in several states.
As Court Appointed Special Advocates, we too, understand the challenges of Missouri's child welfare system and how these obstacles negatively impact our children!  Many of us can vividly recall instances where our children were failed or further harmed while in foster care.  Like Children's Rights, we want foster care to be a time of healing- a time to address past trauma, to receive educational support and quality medical care.  In fact, these are the very reasons why the CASA movement began!
To advance their efforts in Missouri, Children's Rights representatives have asked  Voices staff and CASA volunteers to assist in their efforts by sharing information about the children we represent.  While Voices shares Children's Rights' vision of repairing the broken child welfare system, we are unable to assist in this effort.  It is a direct violation of our organization's confidentiality policy, the bounds of confidentiality under our Court orders, and could jeopardize our relationship with the 21 st and 22 nd judicial courts. Voices' leadership team communicated our position to Children's Rights' local representative, however, others affiliated with Children's Rights, or in the child welfare community who are involved with or knowledgeable of Children's Rights, may be unaware of our stance .
Respectfully, we must insist that under no circumstances are Voices staff and CASA volunteers permitted to speak to Children's Rights about the cases of the children we serve. More pointedly, this restriction extends not just to Children's Rights but anyone not directly related to the case .   If you are contacted by someone asking for your input, please direct them to one of the members of our leadership team: me, Steve Moergen, Cheryl Latham or Colleen Polak.
Please review Voices' confidentiality policy, as stated in the CASA Volunteer Handbook, below.
Policies Guiding Volunteer Work, (CASA Volunteer Handbook)

Confidentiality Policy
Volunteers must respect children's and families' rights to privacy in regard to personal information. The CASA volunteer will hold 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.
  • The CASA volunteer shall not reveal to anyone, except their supervisor, the name of any person who has made a report of suspected child abuse or neglect.
  • Confidential information shall only be shared with the CASA volunteer's supervisor.
  • Disclosure of any information to any party should first be discussed with the CASA volunteer's supervisor.
  • Case records and notes shall be secured and kept private and inaccessible to public view.
  • Discussions of case-related material are not to be held in hallways, elevators, or other public places.
 
The CASA volunteer shall respect the child's right to privacy by maintaining confidentiality. The volunteer shall only share that information which the child has permitted the CASA volunteer to share or information that will affect the health, safety, or wellbeing of the child. The CASA volunteer should share all information from the child with their supervisor. These policies should be explained to the child at the CASA volunteer's first meeting with the child.
  • No one outside of CASA personnel may have access to a CASA case record without a court order. Copies of the CASA volunteer's report to the Court are provided prior to a hearing to the Children's Division caseworker and/or their attorney, the Deputy Juvenile Officer and/or their attorney, and to parents and/or their attorneys, and to any other parties to the case or their supervisors.

Steve Moergen
Executive Director  
 
Program Dashboard
Statistics as of April 27, 2017

203

Voices CASA volunteers
307

kids served by Voices CASA volunteers and staff
325

kids served by Voices staff
632

total kids served by Voices


CASA Volunteer Orientation
Know someone who would be a great CASA volunteer?

Voices will be offering CASA orientation sessions Tuesday, May 16th at 5:30 pm at the County office (105 S Central, 5th fl.) and Thursday, June 1st, at 9:30 am in the City office, (920 N Vandeventer, Room #A107).  If you know someone who is interested in becoming a volunteer and would like to learn more, please invite them to attend!  

For more information contact Kelly Edwards, 314-615-4594 or kledwards@voices-stl.org.  

Voices
Continuing Education
Opportunities to Earn Your Annual CE Credits
 
Saint Louis Crisis Nursery Conference 

Please join Saint Louis Crisis Nursery, in partnership with Maryville University's Walker College of Health Professions for their annual conference. The training will cover the Crisis Nursery updates, Trauma-Informed Approach, and Helping the Homeless. Guest speaker Amanda Mohl with the International Institute will talk about Human Trafficking and the needs of victims, legal remedies, immigrant relief and what to do if you suspect human trafficking.  Guest speaker Connie Fisher with Mental Health America of Eastern Missouri will talk about Reaching Resilience and will discuss the different skills needed for resilience.  This workshop is generously co-sponsored by The St. Charles County Family Stress Council.  To register click here or call 314.292.5770.

Friday, May 19th, 8:30 am - 12:30 pm
Maryville University Auditorium
650 Maryville University Drive, 63141

Info for logging your credits in OPTIMA:
Training Topic- At-risk behaviors/concerns
Format:  Class/workshop
Trainer - Community hosted, Voices endorsed CASA chronicle
3 CEs


2017 Tools of Choice: Skills for Improving Interactions and Behavior
 

This is a free, six-week course for parents, family members, professionals, service coordinators, and those who work with individuals displaying challenging behaviors. Participants will also receive one-on-one coaching after completing the class to polish their skills. Presented by St. Louis County- St. Louis Tri-County Behavior Resource Team .

To view the various class times and locations, please click here.

Seating is limited, so advanced registration is required.   For more information or to register please contact: (314) 540-0815, STL-BRT@dmh.mo.gov.
 

Info for logging your credits in OPTIMA:
Training Topic - At-risk behaviors/concerns
Format:  Class/workshop
Trainer  - Community hosted, Voices endorsed CASA chronicle
18 CEs

CASA Refresher Training
Effective Advocacy Part I & II

Voices is excited to offer CE refreshers for our tenured CASA volunteers! There are two modules, both offered on three different dates-  Module 1 is a refresher on gathering information, boundaries and court reporting and Module 2 is a refresher on transportation and confidentiality.  All classes will be held at Union Avenue Christian Church, 733 Union Blvd, 63108.  

Contact Rhonda Lingard, 314-615-2908 or rllingard@voices-stl.org to register.

Module 1
Module 2
 
Friday, 06/09, 9:30 AM
Thursday, 06/15, 6 PM
Saturday, 6/24, 9 AM
Friday, 6/23, 1 PM
Wednesday, 7/12,  6 PM
Saturday, 7/15, 9 AM


Info for logging your credits in OPTIMA:
Training Topic - CASA role/responsibilities
Format:  Class/workshop
Trainer  - Voices for Children hosted/presented
3 CEs
 
Contact Cheryl Latham, Director of Volunteer Programs at cdlatham@voices-stl.org or 314-615-4543 if you have questions.

St. Vincent Home for Children 
Honoring the past, Guarding the present, Empowering the future

St. Vincent Home for Children helps youth facing significant life challenges through love, security and therapeutic supports that enable them to improve their lives and the community.
  • Provide trauma groups, psychoeducation, art therapy and Solution Focused Therapy.
  • Licensed therapists are trained in using Evidence-Based Best Practice models.
  • Serve children between the ages 10 and 19.  While in residence, we transport youth to and from their school.
  • Youth are referred to St. Vincent by schools, social workers, court systems, parents and family, hospitals, children's division, the department of mental health, our community partner agencies, local police departments and other treatment facilities.
  • While in the residential treatment program, LifeFOCUS, youth receive 24/7 around the clock care and supervision.
For more information contact 314-261-6011 or saintvincenthome.org.  
 
Welcome, Megan Ondr!
Manager, Analysis and Outcomes

Voices for Children has a new Manager of Analysis and Outcomes - Megan Ondr. Megan comes to us with a combination of experience in supporting children and working with data to support organizations. She will oversee Optima and is available to provide Optima support to CASA volunteers. If you need assistance with Optima, please contact her through the Optima help desk at Optima@voices-stl.org . Megan is looking forward to working with our volunteers to help support the children we serve! 
CASA Volunteer Advisory Committee
Committee of CASA volunteers who are here to help

To quote the movie  Jerry Maguire , "help me, help you!" That is the purpose of the newly formed Volunteer Advisory Committee (made up of CASA volunteers from both City and County) and we are excited to tell you more about it! The Committee Charter lists several responsibilities which revolve around assisting CASA volunteers. These include: providing timely information about the positive and  negative aspects of child advocacy, volunteering in the two defined jurisdictions, acting as an informational link between the CASA volunteer and Voices staff, communicating service trends in both the City and County, providing feedback with regard to advocate training, and engaging in programmatic efficiency.
 
CASA volunteers are critical to the success of this endeavor. To help make communication easy, there is a dedicated email address where you can "voice" comments, concerns, questions, suggestions and more. Please email the Volunteer Advisory Committee at vac@voices-stl.org.

Coming Events

Save the Date
Sunday, July 16th
Inaugural CASA Volunteer Family Picnic

Join us for food, fun and family togetherness. 
More details to come!