HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Wishing you all a happy and healthy 2017.
FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S DESK
Happy New Year from all of us here at CASA Philadelphia!
We were certainly busy the last few months of the year and as we head into 2017
the need for CASA volunteers and for Educational Decision Maker (EDM)
volunteers is greater than ever. So, it’s especially exciting that our year-end
fundraising campaign that we kicked off on #GivingTuesday was a success! With
some very generous individual donations and some last minute donations, we
exceeded our goal of raising $10k by January 1st! Thank you to everyone who
helped by contributing and by spreading the word. We raised $13,000.00, funds
that will go directly to supporting more CASA volunteers and in turn more
children in 2017!
I would also like to thank the Reinvestment Fund, the
William M. King Foundation, the Stratton Foundation, the Douty Foundation, the
Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation and the Philadelphia Bar Foundation for supporting
CASA in 2016. Every bit of support goes a long way to helping us implement our
mission throughout the year here at CASA Philadelphia.
This month we are looking forward to the next event in our
new Speaker Series. The focus will be
on education with a panel presentation and discussion on Fostering Educational Success for Children in Care: New Opportunities
and Promising Practices in Philadelphia. Please join us and City Councilwoman
Helen Gym, Education Law Center Senior Staff Attorney Maura McInerney and Child
Welfare Policy Director, Juvenile Law Center Jennifer Pokempner on Jan. 27th
for the next CASA Speaker Series event. PA and NJ CLE credits available. Please
reserve your seat now, tickets are available here: https://casaspeakerseries.eventbrite.com.
With over 6,000 children in foster care in Philadelphia in
2016, we have plenty of work to do and are busy recruiting new volunteers. Our
next cohort of CASA volunteers will be joining us this month. Pre-Service
training starts on January 23rd. If you or someone you know is
interested in becoming a volunteer, please visit our website and fill out an
online application: www.casaphiladelphia.org/volunteer.
Every child deserves a voice and an advocate. Our volunteers
are superheroes for children in foster care every day. We here at CASA hope
that 2017 is a great year for all of our CASA Superheroes!
AN EDUCATIONAL DECISION
MAKER (EDM) STORY
By Dr. Lisa Dissinger, EDM Volunteer
My first case as an EDM volunteer was very challenging on
many levels. I met Tammy* at family court during the summer of 2015. On that
day, Tammy was accompanied to court by a residential care worker from
the facility where she had been placed in residential
treatment. Tammy, age 18, had several diagnoses, including ADHD, depression and
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and was on a cocktail of medications. She had a
history of aggression towards peers in school and had been in and out of
several schools and foster homes throughout middle and high school.
Upon meeting Tammy, she avoided eye contact and did not show
any emotion. When I asked her questions, she answered with short, minimal
responses. Since my training as a child psychologist had included an internship
at the facility where Tammy was residing, these behaviors were familiar, but still disturbing to see in a
I spent the next year attending Tammy's educational meetings
with the Intermediate Unit as well as some of the monthly residential treatment
team meetings. Slowly, but surely, Tammy realized I was not going
away and was trying to help her get the most out of her education. I worked
with Tammy and the liaison from the Intermediate Unit to get her into a good
vocational school off campus. This move away from the residential
treatment facility was a way to ensure that Tammy was in the "least
restrictive setting" for school. I attended her initial IEP meeting at the
vocational school so I could give the team members and Tammy's teachers a snapshot
of who she is and what she needed. One teacher who was at that meeting took a
special interest in Tammy and her "back story" and became her
"go to" person when she was upset or needed support in school.
While there were many bumps in the road, Tammy eventually
stabilized and was able to leave the facility in the summer of 2016. She went to
live with a maternal aunt, who assumed legal guardianship. Up until that time
in her life, no one from her family of origin had stepped forward to take care
of Tammy. Now, she lives with her aunt in Philadelphia and is attending
Overbrook High School with emotional support.
Prior to "vacating" my position as an EDM, I
talked to Tammy's aunt several times to explain her educational needs. I also
offered to go with the aunt to a meeting with the school district to advocate
for Tammy. Luckily, the aunt was capable of navigating the school district
without my assistance.
In my first case as an EDM, I learned that the position
requires a willingness to connect with many different professionals, all of
whom are working to help children in foster care. Though the primary job is to
advocate for a child's educational needs, it is important to get to know and
work with all of the people in that child's life that impact the long-term
*Name has been changed.
VOLUNTEER WITH CASA IN THE NEW
YEAR!: WINTER 2017 CASA AND EDM PRE-SERVICE TRAINING DATES ANNOUNCED
you know, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Philadelphia trains members
of the community to advocate in family court for neglected and abused
children. This year, CASA was also
awarded a grant from Impact100 Philadelphia to develop our Educational Decision
Maker (EDM) program. An EDM volunteer is
an individual who has been appointed by the court to serve as the legal
“parent” for children in out-of-home care who do not have anyone to make educational
decisions on their behalf.
We are now pleased
to be able to offer 3 ways to volunteer with CASA
If you are interested in becoming
a CASA volunteer, you must be
able to commit to at least 2 years, (or the life of a case,) 30 hours of
training, and approximately 10 hours per month of working with a child, which
includes at least one home visit per month. You must also attend at least
3-5 court hearings per year and attend 12 hours of continuing education
in-service training per year.
Currently, we are conducting interviews for our Winter 2017 CASA pre-service training
session, which will be a two-week daytime
training held from 1:00 – 4:00 pm
running from January 23rd to
January 26th and January
30th to February 2nd.
2. If you are interested in becoming an Educational
Decision Maker (EDM) volunteer, you must be able to commit to at least 2
years, (or the life of a case,) 7 hours of training, and approximately 10 hours
per month of working with a child. You must also attend several court
hearings per year and attend continuing education in-service training each
Currently, we are conducting interviews for our January 19, 2017 EDM training. The training will be held from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. This stand-alone EDM training is recommended
for volunteers who have a background in education.
YOU MAY ALSO TRAIN TO BECOME BOTH A CASA AND EDM VOLUNTEER. IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN DOING THIS, JUST
CHECK THE BOX ON YOUR APPLICATION FORM. YOU
MUST FIRST COMPLETE YOUR 30 HOURS OF CASA PRE-SERVICE TRAINING, FOLLOWED BY AN ADDITIONAL
(3) If you would like to become a volunteer with
CASA, but you have other interests or you are unsure of whether or not you will
be able to make the time commitment to become a CASA or EDM volunteer,
there are several volunteer opportunities that include event-planning and
fund-raising. We would love to engage you in a way that is meaningful for
you and which will improve the lives of the children we serve. If you
would like to learn more about becoming a volunteer with us in that capacity,
please email Executive Director Happi Grillon: firstname.lastname@example.org
APPLY TO VOLUNTEER WITH
CASA PHILADELPHIA TODAY!
SAVE THE DATE
JANUARY 27, 2017: THE CASA SPEAKER SERIES “FOSTERING EDUCATIONAL SUCCESS FOR CHILDREN IN
CASA Speaker Series
Join us for our next CASA Speaker series breakfast where we
invite City Councilwoman Helen Gym, Education Law Center Senior Staff Attorney
Maura McInerney, and Juvenile Law Center
Child Welfare Policy Director Jenny Pokempner to speak about new
opportunities and promising practices in education in Philadelphia.
Friday January 27, 2017
8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m
Berger & Montague P.C.,
1622 Locust St. Phila., PA 19103
Continental Breakfast served
Suggested Donation $25
PA and NJ CLE approved
29, 2017: 5TH ANNUAL CASA SUPERHERO
We are happy to announce that at our 4th Annual Superhero 5K
Run/Walk this year was such a success that we have already booked our date for
next year! Save the date for our 5th Annual event: Sunday,
October 29, 2017.
CASA PHILADELPHIA 10TH
ANNIVERSARY EVENT PLANNING
CASA Philadelphia is planning a 10th Anniversary
Event for May 2017. We are looking
for volunteers who are interesting in helping with event planning and
fundraising to join the planning committee.
If you are interested, please email Executive Director Happi
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.
January 19, 2017
EDM TrainingJanuary 23, 2017
CASA Pre-service Training BeginsJanuary 27, 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
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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