Clark County CASA receives grant from National CASA/GAL Association

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Clark County CASA has been awarded a $50,000 Sustainability Grant from the National Court Appointed Special Advocate/Guardian ad Litem (CASA/GAL) Association for Children to support our work advocating for the best interests of children who have experienced abuse or neglect.

The Sustainability Grant will enable Clark County CASA to focus on sustaining service to 15% percent of qualifying children in Clark County. “Our program will be able to retain one of our critical Volunteer Supervisor positions that provides support and coaching to our amazing volunteers as they advocate for the needs of vulnerable children in our community.” said Sheryl Thierry, Program Director of Clark County CASA. This comes when our child welfare systems are in a state of crisis, and we are actively searching for volunteers to make a life changing difference for children who have experienced abuse or neglect.

About Clark County CASA

Established in 1982 as a program of YWCA Clark County, our program advocates for the best interest of over 700 abused and neglected children annually served by highly-trained volunteer advocates so the children we represent may thrive in a safe, permanent home as soon as possible.

About the National Court Appointed Special Advocate/Guardian ad Litem Association for Children

The National CASA/GAL Association for Children, together with its 948 state and local member programs, supports and promotes court-appointed volunteer advocacy so every abused or neglected child in the United States can be safe, have a permanent home and have the opportunity to thrive. The National CASA/GAL Association offers leadership and support to the network of programs and leads its continued growth. CASA/GAL volunteers and staff work every day to help change a child’s story. To learn more, visit nationalcasagal.org or follow National CASA/GAL on Facebook at facebook.com/NationalCASAGAL and @NationalCASAGAL on Twitter and Instagram.

Information for Volunteers During COVID-19

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See below for updates, tips, FAQs and other useful information related to working with children during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Please check back often for new material.

DCYF Resources and Guidance

BRS Providers – Tips for Remote Visitations

Caregivers – Tips for Remote Visitations

Conducting Effective Remote Hearings

DCYF Staff – Tips for Remote Visitations

Family Time – Parent/Child Visitation Technology Needs

Family Time Visitations FAQs

In-person Visitation – Caregivers

In-person Visitation – Parents

In-person Visitation – Providers

Long Distance Activities for Parents

 

Financial, Business and Transportation Resources

 

Community Resources

Clark County Food Bank information in English and Spanish, including information on food distribution sites, free meals programs, and meals provided by public school districts: ​https://www.clarkcountyfoodbank.org/get-food-covid19

NAMI Mental Health Q&A

Virtual Visitation Recommendations

Washington CASA Association Resource List

Washington Court – Virtual Court Proceedings

Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction

 

Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Resources

CASA Campaign Supported by Clark County Supporters

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Clark County CASA Program Sets New Direction

When a critical funding source dries up for a nonprofit, filling the funding gap can sometimes take years and erode the nonprofit’s mission.  And then we have the case of Clark County CASA–Court Appointed Special Advocates.

Notified that a major federal grant would not be renewed last summer, CASA (a program of YWCA Clark County) turned to its community for help. The result: a highly successful fundraising campaign that actually leaves CASA in a solid position for 2020. The organization needed to fill a funding gap that represented 20% of its budget when the federal Victims of Criminal Acts (VOCA) grant was not renewed for the fiscal 2019/2020 year. The VOCA grant funded staff positions whose role, in part, was to advocate for children who came into the care of the state. The national model, based on extensive research, builds the advocacy teams around volunteers rather than staff members.

CASA adopted a three-pronged approach to raise the necessary dollars that, at the same time, brought the program more closely in line with the National CASA model. CASA appealed to the community, to National CASA, and to Clark County for support in its restructuring initiative. Their appeal got results:

  • $60,000 was raised through community support in the form of individual and corporate donations.
  • $58,000 was contributed by National CASA focused on volunteer recruitment.
  • $128,000 was approved by the Clark County Council to be added to the 2020 contract for CASA services.

“We are so grateful for the generosity demonstrated by all our partners as we take this organization to a new level of advocacy for children,” said Sheryl Thierry, CASA program director. “The CASA program staff and volunteers work tirelessly in their advocacy for abused and neglected children in our community.  The recognition of their hard work, and the importance of CASA’s role in the dependency process, is greatly appreciated.”

Thierry said the additional funds from Clark County and National CASA were critical to strengthening CASA’s volunteer recruitment efforts, designed to boost the current roster of 130 volunteers to 200. CASAs advocated for 760 children in Clark County.

“Our ongoing appeal for 2020 is to consider becoming a CASA volunteer,” she said. “The right person can make a transformational difference in a child’s life. Meanwhile, we will continue our pursuit of sustainable funding sources, grants, and community support to keep the program strong and effective for years to come.”

For more information, contact Sheryl Thierry at 360-906-9141.

CASA Information Sessions

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Upcoming Dates:

  • Wednesday, October 9th at 12:00pm
  • Tuesday, October 15th at 6:00pm

Clark County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) is hosting a 1-hour informational session for interested volunteers or community members who want to learn more about the program. CASA volunteers advocate for the best interest of children who have come into the state’s care as a result of abuse, neglect, or abandonment.  All are welcome to join us in the Community Room at YWCA, 3609 Main Street, Vancouver.  You may also email our Volunteer Specialist at kbenzel@ywcaclarkcounty.org.

 

Volunteer Spotlight & Partnership with Alaska Airlines

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Emily Edwards (pictured left) and Julie Haro (pictured right) are Clark County CASA Volunteers but they have something else in common—they both work for Alaska Airlines. Emily and Julie found their way to the CASA program from different paths but they both bring a level of compassion and dedication that comes from the heart.

Making a Difference

Emily joined our program in 2016 and she says “My inspiration is the lasting change and positive impact that comes from my participation with CASA and being involved in a more in-depth way with the families and lives that make up Clark County. I feel most accomplished knowing that I played a role in the kids returning to a safe and happy home where they feel loved and wanted. Spending time with a child to learn about them so I can be their voice is one of the most rewarding things about being a CASA. Providing consistency and loyalty to stay with them throughout the case is one of my greatest contributions. The CASA Program is a great place to volunteer for a person who really wants to help the community but most of all to help a child’s voice be heard.”

Julie joined our program just recently in March 2019 and she saysBefore I became a foster parent in 2010, I had never even heard of the CASA program. After our first placement in 2011, I met the CASA volunteer and was so touched that this woman volunteered her time for vulnerable children in our community. I then realized just how important the CASA program is for the well-being and justice of foster children. I knew that after I moved on from fostering children, my next journey would be with CASA. I feel honored to be a part of such a critical and wonderful program. Volunteering opens your eyes, your heart. If you’re looking for a way to enrich your life, join CASA.”

Getting Involved

In order to encourage staff to volunteer in areas they are passionate about, Alaska Airlines provides support for some of the time employees spend volunteering. We are so grateful that Emily and Julie have chosen to volunteer for CASA and that Alaska Airlines is behind them all the way.

You too can volunteer with CASA. Join us at any of the upcoming one-hour long CASA of Clark County Information Nights:

  • Monday, July 8th at 6:00pm
  • Wednesday, July 17th at12:00pm
  • Tuesday, August 13th at 6:00pm
  • Wednesday, August 21st at 12:00pm

Thank you Emily, Julie, and our wonderful community partner, Alaska Airlines!