FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S DESK
February 1, 2017
Advocacy is at the heart of what we do and what we do well
here at CASA Philadelphia. Our community of volunteers make a commitment to
getting to know a child and the world they live in, so that they can advocate
for them as they navigate through the child welfare and family court systems.
Along the way the volunteer learns what questions to ask to get at what is really
needed in order to make child-specific recommendations to the court. Getting at
the details, finding out what options and services are out there, and figuring
out what might not be working all take collaboration with the other systems
that impact the child’s life. Bridging the gaps between systems can make all
the difference for a child- the difference between having a timely
reunification with a parent, finding permanency with an adoptive family, or
getting needed services to heal from trauma.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the meaning of advocacy and
collaboration this month. We started off the year with a New Year’s gathering
for our staff, volunteers, and board members. It was so wonderful to see everyone
interacting together in a festive atmosphere.
What brought them all together was a mutual appreciation for the work
that CASA does, but what I was struck by was the passion they each brought to
their roles at CASA as they shared stories about why they came to CASA and what
keeps them engaged in the mission. They are all advocates, but they are also
all collaborators who seek to find ways to move systems to meet the needs of
children. We are wrapping up the month by training a new diverse, energetic,
and engaged group of 12 new volunteers in the winter pre-service training session.
They all have the passion to be CASA volunteers and collaborators and we are
excited for them to get to work.
While our volunteers focus on the advocacy needs of the
individual child, CASA has also been focused on system-level advocacy and
collaboration. With the support of the Impact 100 grant, our Educational
Decision Maker (EDM) program staff convened the first EDM work group. This
first meeting was attended by representatives of the school district, family
court, DHS, CUA, CBH, AIC, Education Law Center, Juvenile Law Center, The
Defender’s Association, and the Support Center for Child Advocates. We are proud to be convening a group that
collectively can build on what is working, share resources, and identify
barriers and then solutions to better serve our children.
heels of the EDM work group, CASA Philadelphia hosted our second Speaker Series
event with the focus on education. Councilmember at Large Helen Gym addressed
the group of 50 attendees and set the tone for both the need and urgency of
improving schools in Philadelphia for all children and identifying some of the
particular needs of children in foster care. Maura McInerney of the Education
Law Center and Jennifer Pokempner of the Juvenile Law Center both gave
presentations packed with information that can be used by advocates from across
the child welfare system to improve the educational outcomes for children in
care. It was gratifying to see a diverse group of advocates energized by what
they heard and discussing ways they can put what they learned to use in the
work they do every day on behalf of children in foster care.
CASA is proud to advocate for individual children every day
with care and commitment from our volunteers and staff. In 2017 we also plan to make
an impact at a system level by advocating for collaboration across systems
through the EDM work group and the Speaker Series. We will be looking to you,
our CASA supporters, to help us on this journey.
Thank you and we look forward to collaborating with you this
NEW CASA SUPERVISOR
A warm welcome to Grace Ciak-Linton, our new CASA supervisor
who joined the CASA team in January. Grace
earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Eastern University and Master of Social
Work from Binghamton University. She worked with Youth Service, Inc. (YSI) for
four years, beginning as a volunteer in the SAFE program in the fall of 2012,
then was hired as a case manager in the Truancy Prevention program. In the
summer of 2014 Grace transferred to YSI’s Family Empowerment Services program
as a referral and intake worker. As a
CASA supervisor, she will supervise and support CASA volunteers on their cases.
SAVE THE DATE
2017: THE CASA SPEAKER SERIES- “FOSTERING HEALTH: DO CHILDREN IN FOSTER CARE GET THE HEALTHCARE THEY
NEED? CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS”
CASA Speaker Series
Save the date for our next CASA Speaker Series “Fostering Health: Do Children in Foster Care Get the Healthcare They Need? Challenges & Solutions,” which will take place on March 23, 2017 from 8:30 am to 10:30 am. Stay tuned for more details soon!
Dr. Philip Scribano, Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, University of Pennsylvania; Director, Safe Place: Center for Children’s Protection & Health, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Lindsey Alexander, Esq., Staff Attorney, Support Center for Child Advocates.
And thank you so much to everyone who came out to our second CASA Speaker Series on January 27th “Fostering Educational Success for Children in Foster Care” with City Councilwoman Helen Gym, Education Law Center Senior Staff Attorney Maura McInerney, and Juvenile Law Center Child Welfare Policy Director Jenny Pokempner who spoke about new opportunities and promising practices in education in Philadelphia.
Pictured above: Happi Grillon, Helen Gym, Maura McInerney, and Jenny Pokempner
29, 2017: 5TH ANNUAL CASA SUPERHERO RUN/WALK
Save the date for our 5th
Annual event: Sunday, October 29, 2017.
VOLUNTEER WITH CASA PHILADELPHIA IN 2017
Are you interested in becoming a CASA and/or EDM volunteer this year? We would love to hear from you. Take a look at our website and you can apply online at:
Reach out directly to Volunteer Coordinator Cindy Blum at:
email@example.com to find out more about our upcoming training sessions.
The mission of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of
Philadelphia is to train and support community volunteers
to advocate for the health, safety, stability and well-being
of abused and neglected children.
March 23, 2017
CASA Speaker SeriesOctober 29, 2017
5th Annual CASA Superhero 5K
For more information about any of our events, please contact Volunteer Coordinator Cindy Blum.
CASA of Philadelphia
Board of Directors
Education Law Center
Maureen Smith Lawrence, Esq.
Aronchick, Segal, Pudlin & Schiller
Saul Ewing, LLP
Conservest Capital Advisors, Inc.
& Montague, P.C.
S. Hawkins, Esq.
Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney, PC
Women Against Abuse
Shamyune Jones, Esq.
J. Lawler, Esq.
Archer & Greiner, P.C.
Joseph Nuccio, CPA
Lynanne M. Schaeffer
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Happi Grillon, MSW
Cynthia Mason, Esq.
Trish Kinkle, MSW
Carole Cornelius, MSW
Senior CASA Supervisor
Carletta Chandler, BSW
Grace Ciak-Linton, MSW
Terrill Carney, MA
Andrea Jelin, MS
EDM Program Coordinator
Cindy Blum, EdM
CASA of Philadelphia
1501 Cherry Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
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