How Adolescent Brain Science Supports Youth Engagement in Court Hearings and Case Planning by ABA Youth Engagement Project

Federal and state laws increasingly support meaningfully engaging youth in foster care in their case planning and court hearings. This shift over the last decade is largely because of advocacy by youth with lived experience in foster care. Our understanding of adolescent brain development and its relationship to engaging youth in court is also more clearly developed. Adolescent brain science confirms that meaningfully engaging youth in their case planning and court hearings is critical for the child welfare case and, more importantly, for their healthy growth and development.

139 CASA volunteers served 286 children in May and helped find safe, permanent homes for 20 of those children.

110 children are still waiting for someone to be their voice.
It takes 30 minutes to learn about the difference a CASA can make in a child's life.

Register for a virtual information session so you can join us for the next training starting on July 26, 2021.
This month, we are happy to share why advocate Shantrel Byrd said yes to becoming a voice for a child! Click the hashtag below to hear Shantrel's reason for saying yes.

"When you connect to the heart of a child everything is possible."
Dr. Karen Purvis
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Building Rapport
The primary goal of a CASA Volunteer is to help our children reach a safe and permanent home as quickly as possible. To achieve this goal, our CASA Volunteers must speak with all parties involved in the case to gather accurate and objective information. One of the most important but overlooked factors in gathering information and providing advocacy to your CASA child is rapport building.

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.
In May, the Children's Advocacy Center provided advocacy and forensic interviews to 54 children.

In the River Region, 22 children and families were provided 51 hours of counseling.

Prepared Not Scared

With the beginning of hurricane season, Child Advocacy Services is excited to share Prepared Not Scared™. Prepared Not Scared™ is an interactive resource educating children and families on severe weather and how to address emotions associated with all severe weather and emergencies. This resource identifies many topics of severe weather including: hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, fires, and thunderstorms.

Prepared Not Scared™ introduces "Sunny", a friendly turtle who helps families learn what to expect during severe weather; how to prepare and respond before, during, and after severe weather emergencies; and shares ways to effectively communicate with children and family members during these emergencies. Sunny encourages open discussions between family members and the importance of developing an appropriate plan for all severe weather emergencies.

Weather is unpredictable. It is important for all children and families to have discussions about how to prepare and the appropriate responses to severe weather to increase levels of safety and awareness. If you would like copies of Prepared Not Scared™ or more information about Prepared Not Scared™, please call Child Advocacy Services at 800-798-1575.

Stewards of Children Training
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. 

This training is offered using a virtual platform at $10 per participant. Your $10 includes a workbook, personal resources for better protecting children, CEU Certificate for 2.0 hours, and sustains this training for others to be trained. 

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. 

We would like to share a sincere thanks to Mr. Gary Miller. Mr. Gary has been a dedicated CASA volunteer for many years and his service to children in our community has been incredible! Recently, Mr. Gary and his wife, Carrie, made a donation to CAS in support of our mission to give Voice, Healing, and Security to children!

In 2020, Child Advocacy Services CASA Program served 516 children with 198 volunteers dedicating over 7,564 hours. The CAC Program provided 614 forensic interviews and 457 hours of counseling to children and families.

YOU can help us do more by investing in services for children!
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