September 2020 | In This Issue
What Is Family Visitation Within the Foster Care System?

Question: What Is Family Visitation Within the Foster Care System?

Visitation refers to a schedule of times that foster children and members of the child's birth family are to have regular contact. Visitation can refer to several different options and it all depends on the needs of the birth family and the circumstances of the family's case.

Answer: Progression of Family Visits

Family visits usually begin as hour-long weekly sessions. As the case continues and the birth parents complete different court ordered tasks, they earn more contact with their children. This gives birth parents the opportunity to show social workers, and ultimately the court, that they are capable of properly parenting and caring for their children.

135 CASA volunteers served 303 children in August and helped find safe, permanent homes for 27 of those children. 150 children are still waiting for someone to be their voice.

Training starts the week of October 26th.

Want to learn more about becoming a CASA Volunteer? 
Register for one of our upcoming virtual information sessions. 

Lunch & Learn Information Sessions: 

September 24th at 11:30 AM
October 22, 2020 at 11:30 AM
November 19, 2020 at 11:30 AM
December 17, 2020 at 11:30 AM

Coffee with CASA Information Sessions:

October 10, 2020 at 9:00 AM
November 7, 2020 at 9:00 AM
December 5, 2020 at 9:00 AM

 Recruiters' Corner 

5 Ways College Grads Can Use Volunteer Experience to Get a Job

Finally, some good news for college grad job seekers.

Forbes recently pulled together 15 career experts and asked them to share interview tips for college grads. According to one career expert from LinkedIn, 42% of hiring managers say, "they view volunteer experience equivalent to formal work experience." (So feel free to breathe a huge sigh of relief if you, like me, can't afford the path of unpaid internships to build your resume after college.)

But this news is a huge win for Millennial job seekers! As a generation, we're already civic-minded, which apparently sets us on a great path to landing a future job. But it isn't as easy as "I volunteered in college - I'll take one job, please!" So how can you use your experience wisely?

1. Numbers, stats and specificity will impress more than vague references.
While employers love the idea of hiring altruistic and kind people, it isn't enough to set a candidate apart from the rest of the pack. So on your resume, list out specific actions you took that yielded specific results for your cause, along with exact numbers for the inputs (what you put into the project), outputs (what came out of your activity), and a description of the outcomes (the change in condition felt by the people or community you served). Be ready to expand on those numbers during your interview.

Congratulations to our newest CASA Volunteer!

Volunteer swear-ins look a little different these days but we are so proud to welcome Iryna Fournet to our CASA family! Iryna is ready to be a powerful voice for children in West Feliciana Parish!

We are so excited to welcome 16 people into our CASA training on the road to make a difference in the life of an abused/neglected child! For the first time ever, we were able to begin this journey for CASA trainees while all joining each other virtually from 5 of our regional offices. The need remains great. Will you be in our next training class?

Shannon Seymour
St. Charles Parish Volunteer Spotlight

Shannon Seymour was sworn in as an advocate on 7/23/2020.  Immediately afterward, she committed to her first case even though the child was placed in another parish.

Shannon has already formed a bond with the foster family and the child, and has also gained the trust of the biological mother.  She has been present for court hearings and advocates for the best interest of the child while remaining compassionate with all parties involved.

Shannon, her husband and their 3 children reside in St. Charles Parish. Although she is a new advocate that is constantly learning, it is apparent that she enjoys being a volunteer and will advocate for her child to the best of her ability.

Tammy Hendrickson
Felicianas Volunteer Spotlight

Tammy Hendrickson has been a CASA volunteer since November 13, 2019 and was assigned to her first case on December 9 of that year. She has been a stable person for one child in foster care thus far. Tammy remains engaged with her CASA child and the child's parents because she knows the parents are important to the child she serves. She has observed visits between her CASA child and the parents and has worked to obtain the most objective information possible so the Court could make an informed decision in the best interest of the child.

Tammy is always proud to tell her friends and family about her role as a CASA. She has even shared the importance of being a CASA with her church congregation in the hopes of recruiting more advocates for children in foster care. Tammy does a great job of remaining committed to her CASA child, though there have been times when personal demands have become greater. It is obvious she truly loves being able to provide voice to the needy and we are so grateful to have Tammy as a part of our CASA team

Optima Notes and Communication with Your Supervisor
Why Is This Important?

It seems that one of the most frustrating things for CASA Volunteers and Advocate Supervisors is the paperwork. Most of our CASA Volunteers go above and beyond the call of duty in visiting your assigned children, getting case updates from DCFS, observing parent visits, talking to parents about their progress, getting school reports, getting provider reports, and all of the many job duties of monitoring your CASA case. You also do a great job in keeping us (the Advocate Supervisors) informed and discussing what actions steps are needed to further advocate for the children you are assigned to. We are, however, having some breakdowns in getting the necessary documentation back to us in your monthly Contact Logs and getting those logs timely. The following information will provide you with insight regarding exactly what we need to capture, why we need the information, and some tips to keep you on track with keeping the notes necessary to complete your final report.

Remember to keep your CASA Volunteer file up-to-date with your current
auto insurance card, driver's license, and contact information
And remember to visit your CASA child face-to-face at least once a month.

Stewards of Children is a revolutionary sexual abuse prevention training program that educates adults to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. The program believes and teaches that child safety is an adult's job. Stewards of Children is designed for organizations that serve children and youth. Child Advocacy Services has trained facilitators that can offer this course to your organization for only $10.00 per individual. This fee includes your materials, certificate for 2 hours of continuing education, and assists CAS in continuing our services for children through our CASA and CAC Programs.

Contact us at 800-798-1575 for information on scheduling a training.

To adhere to the current stay home mandate and social distancing orders, we are not currently hosting in-person trainings. 

Click here to see dates and locations for additional trainings offered through Child Advocacy Services.

Triple P Parenting Series

Triple P Selected Seminar Series - An introduction to the strategies of positive parenting and Triple P. Parents attend any number of three 90-minute seminars (Power of Positive Parenting; Raising Confident, Competent Children; and Raising Resilient Children).

Triple P Classes will be held via Zoom due to the social distancing mandate. See the dates and links below to register. Information will be emailed to you on how to participate once you have registered. These sessions are geared toward parents and caregivers of children ages 0 through 12.

The Power of Positive Parenting: Tuesday, September 29, 2020 - 10:00 AM

Raising Confident, Competent Children: Tuesday, October 6, 2020 - 10:00 AM

Raising Resilient Children: Tuesday, October 13, 2020 - 10:00 AM

Triple P Teen Program

The Power of Positive Parenting Teen Program is a multi-level system of family intervention for parents of children and adolescents ages 12-16 who have, or are at risk of developing, behavioral or emotional problems.

Triple P Classes will be held via Zoom due to the social distancing mandate. See the dates and links below to register. Information will be emailed to you on how to participate once you have registered. 

Raising Responsible Teenagers: Thursday, October 1, 2020 - 10:00 AM

Raising Competent Teenagers: Thursday, October 8, 2020 - 10:00 AM

Getting Teenagers Connected: Thursday, October 15, 2020 - 10:00 AM

Monique Mitchell
Tangipahoa Parish Multi-Disciplinary Team

Monique Mitchell has been a member of our Tangipahoa Parish MDT for the past 4 years. She began her journey with the Department of Children and Family Services in 2011 as a Title IV-E intern while obtaining her Masters Degree in Social Work and was later hired on full time with the department. 

Monique has worked in and supervised three major programs - foster care, family services, and currently a supervisor in Child Protection Services. She has worked in three regions while employed with the department (East Baton Rouge, Thibodaux, and currently Covington). Monique also supervises Master level interns at her office. 

Monique's favorite part about being on our MDT is the dedication of the team to make the best decisions for children. 

Monique, we greatly appreciate your passion and the hard work you do to ensure the safety of the children and families we serve! 

Brad Cascio
Livingston Parish Multi-Disciplinary Team

Brad J. Cascio has been a felony Assistant District Attorney for seven years. He has been a part of the Livingston MDT team since joining the District Attorney's Office. Since 2018, Brad has expanded his service to our community as the Assistant District Attorney over Ward II Juvenile and Department of Children and Family Services cases. Brad believes the MDT team is a critical asset for the prosecution of cases involving juvenile victims. Working together with all the agencies involved assures that he has the most current facts to get the cases ready for trial. These meetings also help the DA's office know the victims are getting any counseling and resources they may need. As a father of three, Brad has a sincere dedication to helping the children in our community.

In addition to handling juvenile criminal cases with the District Attorney's Office, Brad also handles civil matters through his private practice with the Moody Law Firm in Hammond. 

Thank you, Brad, for all you do to keep children safe!
In August, the Children's Advocacy Center provided advocacy and forensic interviews to 63 children. In the River Region, 19 children and families were provided 27 hours of counseling.

Healthy Relationships 

This month we want to discuss a topic that involves everyone - relationships. We engage in a variety of relationships daily. You may wake up next to a significant other and say, "Good morning!" You may take your dog for a walk in the neighborhood and wave to a neighbor. Maybe you're a stay at home parent who plays with your child and keeps the household going. Or maybe you go to work and interact with co-workers. Whatever your day looks like, you partake in a wide array of relationships whether it's personal, professional, or romantic. The big question is... "Are your relationships healthy?" Find the unhealthy behaviors listed below in the word search. If you are experiencing any of these unhealthy behaviors in your relationship, please reach out for help and/or support.

Upcoming Training:
Come join Ashleigh Fuller and Jordyn G'sell as they provide a virtual Healthy Relationships Training on Wednesday October 14th from 6-7 pm. This training session will provide both teens and adults with a basic understanding and key characteristics of healthy relationships. Whether it's with a friend, parent, or even a romantic relationship, learning how to respect, share, and trust is essential. A discussion about communication and individual values will help set a foundation prior to small breakout groups to address the different concerns for both teens and adults. Click here to register!
CAC News

Recently, Child Advocacy Services recognized Captain 
Michaela McNeal for her more than 18 years of active participation on the Feliciana Multidisciplinary Team. Captain McNeal has transitioned into a supervisory role and will be leading her new team of investigators so they can continue to give voice, healing, and security to the children of West Feliciana.

Thank you, Captain Michaela McNeal, for all of your support, hard work, and dedication!

Brave children tell their stories. Courageous adults help these children through their trauma and assist them in finding a safe future. Buttons of Bravery represent the journey of one child for a year under the care of Child Advocacy Services. 

Help hold them together through their experience by participating in the 
Buttons of Bravery Child Sponsorship Program. 

Thank you to our new and/or continuing Buttons of Bravery Child Sponsors. 

Patricia Golembiewski
Catholic Daughters of America
EFCU Financial
David and Judith Landry *
Celeste Layrisson *
Rob & Tara Peltier *
Rob & Sally Carlisle *
CH Specialty *
Crossroads Behavioral Health, LLC *
Wayne Meyers *
Becky Powell *
Lauren & Chris Reynolds *

* denotes a recurring monthly donor
Dear Community Supporter,

CAS served 557 children with 212 volunteers through our CASA program in 2019. Of those children, 205 were placed in safe and permanent homes. Additionally, we performed 662 forensic interviews and provided 663 hours of counseling to 116 children and families through our CAC program. 

Child Advocacy Services, Inc. is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization. We appreciate your consideration to start or renew your child sponsorship for 2020.  Please remember your contribution is tax-deductible.
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