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CASA of Philadelphia
January 2017 News
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PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

HAPPY NEW YEAR! 

2017

New Year 2017 imageWishing you all a happy and healthy 2017.

FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS DESK

January 2017

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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!

Happi

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 young woman.

 

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 outcome.

 

*Name has been changed

VOLUNTEER WITH CASA IN THE NEW YEAR!: WINTER 2017 CASA AND EDM PRE-SERVICE TRAINING DATES ANNOUNCED

As 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 Philadelphia:

1.  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 year.

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 EDM CLASS. 

(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:  happi.grillon@casaphiladelphia.org

 

APPLY TO VOLUNTEER WITH
CASA PHILADELPHIA TODAY! 


http://casaphiladelphia.org/volunteer-application

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SAVE THE DATE

JANUARY 27, 2017:  THE CASA SPEAKER SERIES FOSTERING EDUCATIONAL SUCCESS FOR CHILDREN IN FOSTER CARE

CASA Speaker Series

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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 

Register Here Now: https://casaspeakerseries.eventbrite.com

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

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. 

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REMINDERS

CASA PHILADELPHIA 10TH ANNIVERSARY EVENT PLANNING

Volunteers Needed

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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 Grillon:  happi.grillon@casaphiladelphia.org

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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:


January 19, 2017
EDM Training


January 23, 2017
CASA Pre-service Training Begins


January 27, 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



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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