Archive for Sunday, May 26, 2013

How to Help: CASA training begins next week

May 26, 2013

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Douglas County CASA provides comprehensive advocacy for abused and neglected children who are in need of care and are under the protection of the court system. CASA has several spots open in its upcoming training class for child advocates beginning on June 4. After completing training, volunteers will serve as a mentor and an advocate for an abused and neglected child while the child transitions to a safe, permanent home. For more information, contact Diana Frederick at 785-832-5172 or by email at dfrederick@douglas-county.com, or visit the CASA website at www.dccasa.org.

Other immediate needs

Independence Inc. strives to maximize independence for people with disabilities through advocacy, training and transportation. Independence Inc. is looking for volunteers to assist a person with disabilities with an in-town apartment move in early June. Items to be moved include two beds, two dressers, two desks, a bookcase, a refrigerator and night stands. Contact Bob Mikesic at 785-842-0333, ext. 107, or email at bmikesic@independenceinc.org, to volunteer.

Douglas County AIDS Project provides support to people affected by HIV/AIDS, and promotes awareness of the disease. Douglas County AIDS Project needs female volunteers to assist with its SMART Moves/Healthy Lifestyles project. Tasks include teaching a sexuality education class to fifth-graders. Classes are scheduled to begin in June and the curriculum is provided. Contact K T West at 785-843-0040, or email at dcapedu@sunflower.com.

Douglas County CASA is looking for volunteers to build and donate a CASA playhouse and/or dollhouse to include in its fund-raising auction at the Casablanca benefit on Sept. 13. This year’s benefit has a Moroccan theme. Contact Diana Frederick at 785-832-5172 or by email at dfrederick@douglas-county.com to volunteer.

— For more volunteer opportunities, contact Shelly Hornbaker at the United Way’s Roger Hill Volunteer Center, at 785-865-5030 or volunteer@rhvc.org, or go to www.volunteerdouglascounty.org.

Comments

Alceste 1 year, 11 months ago

CASA does NOT provide comprehensive advocacy for abused and neglected children who are in need of care and are under the protection of the court system.

Throughout the country, local CASA chapters continue to state or imply that they are “a child’s voice” in court. They are not. A CASA advocates for whatever the CASA thinks is best for the child. So if the child desperately wants to go home, but the CASA thinks that’s a bad idea, the CASA pushes as hard as she can against what the child wants; the child effectively is silenced. (While it is much less likely to happen, if a child wants to stay in foster care and the CASA wants the child to return home, again, the child is silenced – and that is equally wrong.)

Children do need a voice in court – a real one. From the age a child is old enough to express a rational preference she or he should get a lawyer to fight for that preference. That doesn’t mean children always should get what they want. But the best way to find out what truly is best for a child is if everyone has an articulate advocate making his or her case. Deciding what is best is what we pay judges for. It’s time we stopped ceding that role to amateurs.

CASA is one of the larger fronts as it is a GIANT aspect of the problem with respect to the distorted "Court" system, families, children, removals, foster care, etc. CASA ain't no panacea and has been allowed to grow and mutate to the point of obscenity. LOTS of Jim Jones like Kool-Aid being drunk around these here parts. Read the truth about CASA and what a joke of an operation it is here: http://nccpr.info/the-case-against-casa/ (if you dare, download and read the complete report here: http://www.nccpr.org/reports/casa.pdf , bearing in mind this report is one that was ordained by CASA itself and then BURIED because CASA didn't like what was found.... )

Here are some basic "bullet points" to wet your whistle: an evaluation commissioned by the National CASA Association itself. As Youth Today noted, the report “delivers some surprisingly damning numbers.”

The study found that CASA’s only real accomplishments were to prolong the time children languished in foster care and reduce the chance that the child will be placed with relatives.

The study found no evidence that having a CASA on the case does anything to improve child safety – so all that extra foster care is for nothing. (The study specifically controlled for CASA’s all purpose excuse for this – the claim that CASAs handle the most difficult cases.)

The study also found that when a CASA is assigned to a child who is Black, the CASA spends, on average, significantly less time on the case. (The study also found that CASAs don’t spend as much time on cases in general as the organization’s p.r. might lead one to believe. CASA volunteers reported spending an average of only 4.3 hours per month on cases involving white children, and only 2.67 hours per month on cases involving Black children). (Continued below):

Alceste 1 year, 11 months ago

Continued:

Rather than respond to the findings of its own study by cleaning up its act, CASA tried first to spin the results and then to bury them. Youth Today concluded that CASA’s spin “can border on duplicity.”

In short, CASA is one more thumb tilting the scales of justice against families.

Heck yes the program is very much needed due to incredible failures of Diana Frederick, executive director of the Douglas County Court Appointed Special Advocates and the program.

http://nccpr.info/the-case-against-casa/

In Arkansas City, Kansas, in 2009, where the big annual fundraiser for CASA is a drag queen contest, the winner of the talent competition and the “Miss CASA” title was the local mayor. He dressed up as a woman to whom he gave a surname described as “graphic slang for a female private part.” So is the name the mayor chose for his back-up dancers. Oh, and one more thing: The mayor did his act made-up in blackface.

The local CASA director said she was mortified when someone explained what the surname meant. Other than that though, she gave the performance a rave review, telling a local news website: “The part of his act I felt was excellent was the dancing. It was good dancing. The back-up singers were gorgeous and could probably back up any professional. … We may change some things. We may not. We certainly don’t want to offend anybody.” As for the blackface, the CASA director said she didn’t think the mayor was trying to portray a different race: “It wasn’t black black,” she said. “It was all really just tan.” It was not until after the National CASA Association went into damage control mode and set up a conference call with the local chapter, the state chapter and the local NAACP that the local chapter apologized.[6] http://www.nccprblog.org/2008/11/casa-chapter-shows-its-true-colors.html

lawrencian 1 year, 11 months ago

Alceste, I am one of the CASA volunters that you are slandering here. I am a well-educated person, and assigned to a single case. The "job description" of a CASA volunteer is to BE that voice for the child in the court process -- we only have one case, while lawyers have a hundred...

I hope that people reading this article will consider researching the program for themselves, and not write it off as a waste of time based on your comments.

Alceste 1 year, 11 months ago

In fact, the CASA model creates enormous potential for bias. Who can be a CASA? Certainly not a poor person working two jobs, or someone who has to work seven days a week; they don't have the time. No, a CASA volunteer is most likely to have lots of time on his or her hands. And that means CASA volunteers are likely to be disproportionately affluent and disproportionately white (and, in fact, 90 percent of CASA volunteers are white). Children who enter the child welfare system, of course, are neither.

There may be no more sacred cow in all of child welfare than the Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program. Under this program, volunteers are assigned to spend a few hours a month on one or two child welfare cases, talking to all parties and then telling the judge what the volunteer thinks would be best for the child.

I collected the gooey feature stories that turn up in almost every newspaper about CASA for a while, until I ran out of file space. In almost every one, the program is praised to the skies and all of its self-promotional material is accepted without question. And CASA itself loves to brag about how much influence the volunteers have over juvenile court judges when those judges decide if a child will be placed in foster care, whether a child will remain there, and where that child will go.

So, good intentions notwithstanding – and like almost everyone in child welfare, most CASA volunteers do, indeed, mean well – the potential for racial and class bias is obvious. So it should come as no surprise that the largest, most comprehensive study of CASA ever done – a study commissioned by the National CASA Association itself - produced some truly alarming findings. You shall find a link to that report above.

Deb Engstrom 1 year, 11 months ago

I'm not sure what Alceste's beef is with CASA, but the experiences I've had with CASA has been wonderful and the kids involved were largely minority. As far as kids wanting to go home, I'm sure most would say they do. But that doesn't mean it's whats best for them nor does it mean the adults involved should support that decision.

Alceste 1 year, 11 months ago

".....From the age a child isold enough to express a rational preference she or he should get a lawyer(as in COURT appointed counsel) to fight for that preference. That doesn’t mean children always should get what they want. But the best way to find out what truly is best for a child is if everyone has an articulate advocate making his or her case. Deciding what is best is what we pay judges for. It’s time we stopped ceding that role to amateurs.

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