Once a CASA graduates from training, they will meet with their assigned supervisor. The supervisor will review the list of waiting cases with them and answer all questions and concerns that the CASA may have about the cases. CASA supervisors are there to make the CASAs feel comfortable and supported through this process. Ultimately, the CASA will choose what case they would like to serve.
The supervisor and the CASA will discuss any career or life experiences that they may be able to bring to the case as well. For example, if the CASA is a retired nurse and there is a medically-fragile child on the waitlist, the CASA would be able to bring an area of advocacy to the child that the other parties of the case would not be able to bring to make sure all of that child’s medical needs are met.
Answered by Team Lead Kristen Smith
What’s it like to advocate for a child in foster care during a pandemic? According to CASA James Curtis, what an advocate does hasn’t changed as much as how they do it. Below is a summary of a recent chat with James.
Q. How has the pandemic changed your CASA advocacy?
A. Honestly, not a lot. I’m still staying in great contact with my CASA child as well as submitting court reports and observations. The biggest change is that court and DHS meetings have moved to the Zoom platform. This can be a little bit of a challenge to make sure all of the parties (attorneys, DHS, parents, etc.) have access and enough bandwidth to fully participate. But, it seems everyone is finding a way to make it work.
Q. How has your CASA child been impacted by all of these changes?
A. He’s done surprisingly well. He struggles a bit in a traditional school setting, so working with a patient foster parent at home has been good for him. The hardest part is that he hasn’t been able to physically see his parent. They had been separated for months prior to COVID-19, and due to social distancing, this separation continues. It’s been really difficult and sad for him.
Q. Can you imagine any opportunities or possible challenges that may come from the integration of technology in future cases?
A. I can definitely see the benefit of using video conferencing to allow more parties of the case to participate in mid-day meetings and hearings. My biggest worry would be that, for convenience, there would be a desire to substitute in-person parent or sibling visits with virtual ones. There’s no substitute for a hug.
Q. Do you feel your overall purpose or focus has changed during this pandemic?
A. No. I volunteer because I believe we can change the trajectory of a child’s life if we are able to intervene at the right time. This is as critical now as it was a few months ago.