After becoming a CASA volunteer, advocates complete additional training in the following areas:
The goals of medical advocacy training are to ensure CASA volunteers have the skills necessary to ensure the child receives regular well-care, dental care, and immunizations as well as any other necessary healthcare services while they are in out-of-home placement. Advocates focus on: communicating and collaborating with stakeholders and professionals, gathering baseline medical information, ensuring routine well-child care and immunizations, monitoring the child’s health and confirming there is a healthcare plan in place, and understanding the importance of following up on recommended services and being mindful and vigilant regarding the dangers of unmet health needs.
The goals for educational advocacy are to provide CASA volunteers with the skills necessary to take an active role in ensuring the educational needs of the child are met, such as identifying potential issues, finding appropriate professional support, and understanding how to make specific recommendations. Advocates focus on: maintaining educational stability for the child; eliminating or overcoming barriers to registration, attendance, and information sharing; ensuring access to an education that maximizes the child’s potential; and improving educational outcomes by ensuring all educational needs are met.
Fostering Futures engages CASA volunteers both as advocates and as mentors to foster youth ages 14 to 21, with the goal of helping youth identify supportive adult connections and develop a plan for successfully transitioning from foster child to independent, successful, young adult. An online component introduces the concept of “Possible Selves” and highlights issues facing adolescents aging out of foster care. During the in-person sessions, advocates focus on ways to engage adolescents and applying the Possible Selves model.
REMOVING THE TARGET: KEEPING FOSTER KIDS OUT OF THE CHILD-TRAFFICKING CROSS-HAIRS
What is human trafficking? Are foster children at greater risk? What can you do to help? Human trafficking is modern-day slavery, plain and simple. It's a global, multi-billion-dollar criminal industry and no matter where you live, someone nearby is being forced or coerced into trafficking. Maybe it's a neighbor's nanny lured through promises of school, but never allowed to go? Maybe it's the man clearing tables at your local restaurant, stripped of his passport and unable to make a change. Different scenarios? Yes. But each the same: Each are held against their will. Each have lost personal freedom. In CASA’s workshop, participants learn how this modern-day slavery not only impacts children in foster care — but how their trauma history and caregiver abuse makes them ideal trafficking victims.
TRUE SPEAKING THROUGH ART: A WORKSHOP
The True Speaking Through Art Workshop guides existing CASA volunteers through an enjoyable journey that includes art history and lecture, hands-on activities to use with CASA youth, discussions about the connection between art, bonding and communication, as well as examples that introduce attendees to the ins and outs of art therapy. Although attendees do not become art therapists after completing the training, they are able to apply new techniques to help build a rapport with the children and adolescents they serve in a relaxed, engaging manner. (No prior art experience is necessary! Just bring yourself, an open mind and a willingness to roll up your sleeves and get dirty!) A light dinner will be served.