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COVID-19 – Decrease in Child Abuse Reports

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a perfect storm of factors that has led to a sharp increase in unreported cases of child abuse and neglect. The detection of child abuse and neglect is heavily dependent on reports by teachers, doctors and other professionals who are mandated reporters. About 75% of suspected child abuse and neglect reports in Nevada are made by mandated reporters. Upon the onset of the pandemic in March, Nevada saw a 14% decrease in suspected child abuse and neglect reports, which included a 46% decrease in reports made by educational personnel. The week following the closing of Nevada’s school buildings on March 16, 2020, Child Welfare Services received 12 reports from school personnel in comparison to 256 reports the week prior to school closures. In Clark County, Child Welfare investigations decreased 43% in the month of April with a 35% reduction in the month of May. “Unfortunately, this drop in reporting is not likely due to a drop in child abuse, but rather fewer community members with eyes on vulnerable kids”, Ross Armstrong, DCFS Administrator. Read more.
Shelia Parks, CASA Program Administrator

It’s been a few months since the last update from the CASA program of the Eighth Judicial District Court. Although we, like many of you, are working primarily in this virtual world, our day-to-day responsibilities and expectations have not slowed down. As a matter of fact, our program has seen an increase in most categories, especially in the number of people who inquired about becoming CASA volunteers. In the 23 years that I have worked at the CASA program, this is the first time that we have generated a waitlist of applicants, who are pending interviews and training. What an amazing problem to have! We are grateful for all of these individuals who remain committed to making a difference in the community, by serving as a volunteer child advocate, during these unprecedented times. Read more.
A message from Michael Samuel

Yes, the rumor is true, I have officially retired from my position as Volunteer Coordinator/Recruiter with the Eighth Judicial District Court-CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) Program. So, let me take you on my CASA Journey and thank a few people who helped me along the way. Now I know what it really means to come full circle in life. You see, I started as a CASA volunteer in 2001, supervised by JoAnn Angerson and hired by the previous CASA Program Manager, Pat Thacker, in 2006, after Betsy retired. Thanks Betsy! And, believe me when I say this, I plan to once again become a CASA volunteer in some form or fashion, to continue supporting our kids, other CASA volunteers, the awesome CASA staff (Shelia, Cheryl, Cindy, Vickie, Buffie and Marci), and the CASA Program. For those who might visit the CASA office (post COVID-19), if you walk into Cindy’s office and you hear sadness in her voice or she says she’s wiping her eyes because she has dust in them, don’t believe her. It’s because she misses me! Don’t worry, I’m not going too far, I’ll be around. Read more.
Back To School Event

It seems like everything has been upended in our world since the start of the pandemic. As hard as it has been for us, the children we serve have now experienced unprecedented uncertainty in their lives as schools go virtually. For that reason, it was essential to us at the CASA Foundation, with the assistance of the Department of Family Services (DFS) and our generous partners, to bring a little bit of the back to school excitement to the kids we serve.

The Back to School event held on Sunday, August 9, 2020, saw over 400 backpacks distributed by the hard-working volunteers of Square Salon. The drive-thru event ensured kids received a backpack with additional items such as a mask and sanitizer from Boomer Naturals, and headphones to be used for their online learning sessions. In total, the CASA Foundation, with the support of the Department of Family Services, Square Salon, Toll Brothers, Canyon Ridge, Muller Construction, and L'oreal, distributed over 800 backpacks through this week.

If you are CASA volunteer and your child didn't receive a backpack, please contact the CASA Office and you will be put in touch with DFS representative to arrange pick up.  Please keep a close eye on your CASA kids' progress as school begins. The CASA Foundation has increased its tutoring budget, and if your kid needs help, don't hesitate to reach out to us on our NEW website.

CASA volunteer, KATHY ESPIN, passed away July 24, 2020. She was active with the CASA Program since 1997. She received Awards of Excellence from the CASA Foundation in 1998 and 2009. As a member of the CASA Foundation Board of Directors, for eight years she directed the CASA's Angel Tree program, for which she received the CASA Foundation's President's Award in 2012. 

Kathy had many friends within our CASA Program and will be missed immensely. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family and many friends. Read more.
Are you interested in becoming a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer assigned to advocate for the best interest of a child in foster care? We need your help!

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) volunteers provide advocacy for children who have been abused and neglected so that the children can thrive in safe and permanent homes.