Arkansas law is clear that the preferred placement for a child in foster care is with relatives. Studies show that children who are placed with family (instead of traditional foster homes) are more likely to be placed with siblings and achieve better outcomes overall.
To assist with family relationships and placement, the law states that CASA volunteers should provide the court with information about a child’s adult relatives including recommendations for relative placement and visitation.
Before they can share this information with the judge, our volunteers must first execute the very important work of identifying and contacting relatives and fictive kin of children in care to determine their willingness to be involved in the case. Utilizing a variety of search methods from file mining to scouring social media platforms and public records, as well as interviewing currently known relatives, advocates will begin to flesh out the family tree and make important connections for their CASA child. Beyond placement opportunities, simply being connected to one’s family can provide a child in foster care with a critical sense of identity.
In order to fulfill our duties to the court and build a network of supportive and caring adults for the children we serve, we provide regular training to our volunteers, new and seasoned, in family finding methods and techniques.
Answered by Training Manager Ryan Brashears