May 2019

If you haven't heard, May is National Foster Care Month! Thank you so much to all of you who joined us at Fostering Hope, attended the movie premiere of Friday's Child, celebrated with us at Hands Around the Capitol, attended a CASA training, or kept a special place for foster youth in your heart. We are so grateful to all of you.

If you're interested in advocating for foster youth, check out our upcoming training! Want to keep kids safe? Check out our tips in this newsletter on questions to ask your summer camp providers and phone apps to watch out for. Let's keep our kids safe this summer! (Summer is coming, right?)

Susan Conwell, JD
Executive Director
You Make Fostering Hope Possible!
Brigette, Randi, Angie, Caroline, Vanessa and Sara thank all of you for your generous support of our 10th annual Fostering Hope event! Whether you were with us at Rustic Manor or with us in spirit, your generosity and caring spirit made it a great night!

You make it possible for us to serve more children with intensive one-on-one advocacy, help kinship children and their caregivers, provide therapy to children with trauma, and much more. We are so grateful to all the businesses, organizations, individuals and families who made the 10th annual Fostering Hope a success!
Hands Around the Capitol
For Foster Care Awareness Month, Wisconsin's Youth Advisory Council (YAC) hosted the annual  Hands Around the Capitol  event in Madison! Kids Matter and former YAC leader and current CASA volunteer DJay were there to support the group of young leaders and to share how CASA volunteers make the difference for so many foster youth. The event featured stories from foster youth and words from Representative Snyder, and concluded with holding hands in unity around the rotunda of the State Capitol. Be sure to join next year!
Upcoming CASA Training
Would you like to make a difference in the life of a child? Become A Court Appointed Special Advocate!

Summer Training for CASA volunteers  – 5 required sessions
Our next CASA volunteer training cycle will begin on March 27, 2019. This 5 week training will be on four Wednesday evenings from 6 PM to 9 PM, one Saturday from 9 AM to 3 PM, and a weekday morning courtroom observation. The training is comprised of at-home online session (16 hrs) and classroom sessions (18 hrs). All classes are held at the Kids Matter office near downtown Milwaukee; the courtroom observation is held at the Vel R. Phillips Juvenile Justice Center in Wauwatosa.

Wednesday, July 10, 6 PM to 9 PM
Wednesday, July 17, 6 PM to 9 PM
Saturday, July 20, 9 AM to 3 PM
Wednesday, July 24, 6 PM to 9 PM
Wednesday, July 31, 6 PM to 9 PM

We are accepting applications now! Background and reference checks and a personal interview are required for all volunteer applicants. Please call Nidhi Khare at 414-344-1220 or  email us  to sign up or if you have questions about future Kids Matter CASA training opportunities.
What You Should Ask Your Summer Camp Provider
The weather doesn't know it, but its summertime! Before sending your child to camp, make sure to ask your camp provider the following questions. All questions were taken from Darkness to Light , a organization that provides child sexual abuse prevention curriculum.

  1. Does the camp run background checks? If so, what do they look for? What about staff members not from the US? How are they vetted?
  2. Does your state require camps to be licensed? If not, what are their requirements & procedures for hiring staff?
  3. Is staff trained in child sexual abuse prevention & reporting training? What are their reporting policies?
  4. What are the policies around sleeping arrangements and cabins? Bathrooms & shower usage?
  5. Do they have a code of conduct that includes limiting opportunities for uninterruptible one-on-one situations with adults and other children? If they do not have one, cross the camp off your list.

Check out Darkness to Light's complete "Checklist for Safer Camp Experiences."
Apps To Know About
Your child is born ready to learn—and you have what it takes to help them! Vroom is a set of tools and resources designed to inspire families to turn everyday moments into “brain building moments” by layering activities that are essential to healthy brain development onto existing routines. You're busy--the vroom app give you ideas for activities so you can spend less time planning and more time playing with you child!

But not all apps inspire positive learning and interaction. Below, check out the infographic of apps that caregivers should be aware of:
Thanks so much to our Fostering Hope sponsors!