September 2020
This Sunday is Grandparents Day! Most of us have great memories of special days spent with our grandparents. Today, a growing number of kids are going to their grandparents to stay. Please join us in celebrating both grandparents and "grandfamilies" -- families headed by a grandparent or a relative providing a safe haven to children. Grandfamilies are leading the way making sure all kids are safe.
If you are heading a grandfamily household, you are invited to join our virtual support group -- Grandfamilies Matter. All relative caregivers are welcome.

September's support group theme is Promoting Health and Wellness During a Pandemic and will feature pediatrician Dr. Sara Lauck and psychologist Dr. Jeffrey Karst from Children's Wisconsin. They will answer questions such as:
  • How can I prevent my own anxiety over COVID from impacting my grandchild?
  • I am concerned about the emotional toll isolation is taking on my grandchild, especially since school continues to be online. How can I help?
  • Should my grandchild and I go to routine health care appointments? How do I prioritize well child, dental appointments, etc.?
  • What are signs that my grandchild may need professional help to cope with the pandemic?  

The support group will be Wednesday, September 30 at 7:00pm over Zoom. Email us for instructions to join.

Happy Grandparents Day!
Susan Conwell, JD
Executive Director
#BeThe1To Prevent Suicide
Grandparents, relatives, volunteers... do you know how to help someone in crisis? Do you know how to listen to and talk with someone thinking about suicide?

Did you know that according to the Wisconsin 2019 Risk Youth Behavior Survey almost 16% of public school students in Wisconsin reported that they considered suicide? And only a quarter of students reported that they received the help that they need when they feel sad, empty, hopeless, angry, or anxious.

Young people may not know how to ask for help or who can help them. It's up to us to reduce stigma, understand risk and protective factors and learn how to talk to youth and adults who are considering suicide. You can #BeThe1To...Ask...Be There...Keep Them Safe...Follow Up. Scroll to the end of the newsletter for a list of suicide hotlines and text numbers.

September is National Suicide Awareness Month. The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office says the month of August saw a 300% increase in suicides over the previous month. In May, emergency medical services reported an 80% increase in responses to suicide attempts.

Wondering where to start? Attend an online QPR training!
QPR stands for Question, Persuade, and Refer — the 3 simple steps anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide. The QPR mission is to reduce suicidal behaviors and save lives by providing innovative, practical and proven suicide prevention training. The signs of crisis are all around us. Quality education empowers all people to make a positive difference in the life of someone they know. This training is facilitated by Jeremy Triblett, RECAST MKE through the City of Milwaukee Office of Violence Prevention in partnership with Community Advocates Public Policy Institute. Click on a date below to register.

Celebrating a Year of Service --Thank You Jelena!
1700 hours! That's the commitment of an AmeriCorps Member. We're sending a huge congratulations to our AmeriCorps Member Jelena Stankovic for finishing her year of service. Jelena has accomplished so much this year from working with volunteers to transitioning CASA training all online and much more. It's not quite goodbye though--Jelena will continue hosting the Kids Matter Book Club. We're excited to see what you accomplish next, Jelena!
Congratulations Summer CASA Class!
Congratulations to our newest class of CASA volunteers! We look forward to the life-changing guidance these 10 passionate volunteers will provide to our foster youth.
Next Virtual Training Class Begins October 7th!
Are you looking for ways to stay connected and keep learning? Do you want to make a difference? Kids Matter has all-virtual training for badly needed volunteer advocates for local abused and neglected kids. Consider signing up today!

This Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer training is six evening sessions held via Zoom. You'll need a computer (ideally with a camera) and internet access. The course and all course materials are free.

Fall Training Cycle (virtual training)
Wednesday, October 7, 6:00pm to 9:00pm 
Wednesday, October 14, 6:00pm to 9:00pm  
Wednesday, October 21, 6:00pm to 9:00pm
Wednesday, October 28, 6:00pm to 9:00pm
Wednesday, November 4, 6:00pm to 9:00pm

Applications are now being accepted for a limited number of spaces. Background and reference checks and a personal interview via Zoom are required for all volunteer applicants. If interested, email or call 414-344-1220.
Continuing Education Opportunities from National CASA/GAL
Culturally Responsive Child Advocacy
This series from the National CASA/GAL Association aims to improve collective understanding of the racial disparity in the child welfare system.

The Current State and Climate of the Foster Care System
This session looks at the data and current realities of the foster care system set in a historical and socio-political context. 
Date: Thursday, September 17 from 3:00pm-4:00pm CT. 
Understanding Racial Bias and the Impact on Families of Color
This session explores how unconscious racial bias shows up in our advocacy work both interpersonally and institutionally.
Date: Thursday, October 1 from 3:00pm-4:00pm CT. 
Tools for Closing the Gap
This session focuses on skill building and applying the knowledge gleaned from previous sessions. Skills include examining bias, evaluating equity, disrupting microaggressions, repairing racial ruptures and practicing cultural humility.
Date: Thursday, October 8 from 3:00pm-4:00pm CT.

All Children All Families: Advocating for LGBTQ+ Youth
This series from the National CASA/GAL Association aims to improve collective understanding of the challenges faced by LGBTQ youth and how CASA volunteers can best advocate for them. 

Advocating for LGBTQ Youth
This session explains main challenges faced by LGBTQ youth, including statistics on: bullying, harassment, violence and over-representation in systems of care; identifies common barriers LGBTQ youth face in out-of-home care and resources available for advocates; and explores research on the importance of family response and adult support and how these responses impact outcomes for LGBTQ youth.
Date: Wednesday, September 23 from 2:30pm-3:45pm CT.
Advocating for LGBTQ Youth in the Education System
This session applies main challenges faced by LGBTQ youth to the education system and provides resources available for advocates.
Date: Tuesday, October 6 from 2:30pm-3:45pm CT.
*Be on the lookout! Information about the Wisconsin CASA Association's Virtual Conference Series coming soon!*
Automotive Class from Chaya--Scholarships for Foster Youth
The amazing automotive educator Chaya Milchtein is offering 2-3 scholarships for former and current foster youth to participate in her online course, Before Your First Car: A Virtual Car Ownership Class for Teens and Young Adults. If you are or know of a foster youth looking to buy their first car, email for more information on the scholarship. Chaya will also provide a donation toward the purchase of the car to one lucky current or former foster youth who completes the course.

You can also sign up your teen or young adult for this course--all of Chaya's classes are offered on a sliding fee scale!
Conference for Relative Caregivers
You have just a few days left to register for the all-virtual Families Like Mine: Conference for Relative Caregivers of Children! Register here.

This conference is a FREE opportunity for caregivers to learn from experts in various fields. This year, topics include Substance Abuse, Mental Health, Guardianship Law, Trauma Informed Parenting, and Raising Children of Color. Presentations will be pre-recorded and available for registered participants to view anytime the week of September 14 – 18, 2020.

Additionally, the week of September 21 – 25, caregivers will have the opportunity to participate in topic-specific discussions/networking. These sessions will be hosted in a live format on Zoom, and will be facilitated by a staff member from the Coalition for Children, Youth and Families and/or DCF.
Suicide Prevention Resources
For life-threatening emergencies, call 911--request Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) officer.
Suicide Prevention Hotlines
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • TTY Accessible: dial 711 then 1-800-273-8255
  • Spanish/Español:  1-888-628-9454
  • Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255, Press 1
  • Trevor Lifeline (LGBTQ): call or text  1-866-488-7386
  • COPE Hotline: 1-262-377-2673
Emergency Mental Health Care Numbers
  • Police: Emergency, request Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) officer 911
  • Milwaukee County Psychiatric Crisis Service/Admissions: 414-257-7260 or 414-257-7222
  • Milwaukee County Crisis Mobile Team: 414-257-7222
Youth Services
  • HOPELINE Text Line: text 741741
  • Runaway and Teen Crisis Line-Walker’s Point Family and Youth Center: 414-647-8200
  • Trevor Lifeline (LGBTQ Crisis Line ages 13-24): call or text 1-866-488-7386

  1. Prevent Suicide Greater Milwaukee
  2. NAMI Greater Milwaukee