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CASA of Philadelphia
February 2017 News
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PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS DESK

February 1, 2017

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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.

On the 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 year!

Happi

NEW CASA SUPERVISOR GRACE CIAK-LINTON

Welcome!

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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.

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SAVE THE DATE

MARCH 23, 2017: THE CASA SPEAKER SERIES- FOSTERING HEALTH: DO CHILDREN IN FOSTER CARE GET THE HEALTHCARE THEY NEED?  CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS

CASA Speaker Series

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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! 


Presenters

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

OCTOBER 29, 2017:  5TH ANNUAL CASA SUPERHERO RUN/WALK

5K

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Save the date for our 5th Annual event:  Sunday, October 29, 2017.  

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REMINDERS

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:

www.casaphiladelphia.org

Reach out directly to Volunteer Coordinator Cindy Blum at:
cindy.blum@casaphiladelphia.org to find out more about our upcoming training sessions.
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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.




Upcoming Events:


March 23, 2017
CASA Speaker Series


October 29, 2017
5th Annual CASA Superhero 5K




For more information about any of our events, please  contact Volunteer Coordinator Cindy Blum.

cindy.blum@
casaphiladelphia.org

or

267-519-5325




CASA of Philadelphia

Board of Directors




Maura McInerney, Esq.
 Education Law Center
Board President




Maureen Smith Lawrence, Esq.
Hangley, Aronchick, Segal, Pudlin & Schiller

Board

Vice President





Danielle Petaja, Esq.

Saul Ewing, LLP

Board Secretary





Caroline Rosch
Reinvestment Fund
Board Treasurer




Tom Bonner

PECO





Christina Copeland
Conservest Capital Advisors, Inc.





Camille Fundora, Esq.
Berger & Montague, P.C.






Philip Hawkins

Kurchner-Hawkins Associates





Robert S. Hawkins, Esq.

Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney, PC





Eileen Horgan, Esq.

Women Against Abuse






Shamyune Jones,   Esq.

   Pennsylvania Convention Center





Denis J. Lawler, Esq.

Archer & Greiner, P.C.





Joseph Nuccio, CPA

TD Bank






Lynanne M. Schaeffer

Gaudenzia, Inc.


 




  Alan Sharavsky

    Sharavsky      

 Communications

 




Judith Silver, PhD

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia







CASA STAFF




Happi Grillon, MSW
Executive Director



Cynthia Mason, Esq.
Program Director



Trish Kinkle, MSW
Program Manager



Carole Cornelius, MSW
Senior CASA Supervisor



Carletta Chandler, BSW
CASA Supervisor



Grace Ciak-Linton, MSW
CASA Supervisor



Terrill Carney, MA
EDM Supervisor



Andrea Jelin, MS
EDM Program Coordinator



Cindy Blum, EdM
Volunteer Coordinator










CASA of Philadelphia
Friends Center
1501 Cherry Street
Philadelphia, PA  19102



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