CASA Connection

CASA Connection

Education, information, and stories about the foster care world.

Episodes

July 2, 2024 17 mins

This week, one of our amazing CASA volunteers, Ashley K., joined us for a great discussion and dive into how to advocate for babies who are in foster care. Ashley's case was very unique. Not only did she navigate a system that wasn't always easy - especially when her CASA child couldn't speak - she learned a lot along the way. She provided some great insight on how to get through the challenges of advocating for a baby.

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It's Pride Month here in June! Jeff and Tracey talk about how we can support our LGBTQ+ friends and family members even more in the future. Plus, it's a great time to recognize, celebrate, and open up channels of communication to our LGBTQ+ community within our neighborhoods and beyond. While our society as a whole here in the United States has become more accepting of LGBTQ+ individuals throughout our communities, we still can and...

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Over the years, the CASA training model has evolved. This week, our Volunteer Trainer at CASA SHaW joined us to discuss our pre-service training program. What's the very first step folks need to take to become a CASA volunteer? What subject matters are focused on during the 30 hours of training? All of this and much more this week as we dove into one of the most rewarding volunteer opportunities in America.

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May 2, 2024 19 mins

As we recognize Foster Care Awareness Month, we dove into topical shifts in foster care. Programs like CASA have experienced changes within the foster care world since 2018 due to federal legislation and laws that were implemented. Has this benefitted children and families? What resources are available as we continue to witness the shifting landscape of foster care? Tracey and Jeff discussed it during this episode.

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April 19, 2024 24 mins

We continued our discussion on this episode of what sexual assault look like for youth in our community as we recognize Sexual Assault Awareness Month here in April. Lauren Lia, Vice President of Clinical Services at Safe + Sound Somerset, joined us to talk about why is it important to talk about child sex abuse, even though it's so uncomfortable as well as red flags and resources that are available for children - and others - who ...

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April 3, 2024 19 mins

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and a time for all of us to become more aware of this tragic phenomenon that permeates throughout our culture and society. We consistently see cases of sexual assault within the foster care world, and it's important to discuss why this happens, and how we can get better and curb this horrible action in our communities. This week, Joelle Piercy from Safe + Sound Somerset joined us for a discus...

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March 20, 2024 14 mins

How can we better support LGBTQ+ youth in our homes and within our local communities? That's what we dove into on this episode. After the recent murder of a youth in Oklahoma and countless other less publicized incidents throughout our state and nation, it's important for our CASA program to continue letting our region know that we support inclusivity. Tracey and Jeff talked about how we can better understand LGBTQ+ youth, and how ...

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Here at CASA SHaW, Tracey and Jeff recognized Women's History Month and discussed pioneers who helped pave the way for a better world in terms of child advocacy. We also mentioned a couple of our amazing staff members who have been dedicated to helping foster youth for many years. Why are women predominantly drawn to child advocacy professions? It's a question we dove into on this episode as well.

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Our CASA volunteer, Laura P., has been very dedicated to her case and her CASA child - a teenager who is finding her way. After going through the CASA training and getting her first case, Laura dove into the world of resources for her foster youth. The foundation of Laura's story in this episode is: it never hurts to ask a question. You never know where it may lead.

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February 7, 2024 17 mins

How can we continue to embark on compassionate advocacy within our CASA program and beyond? Tracey and Jeff talk about what compassionate advocacy means in this episode. They discuss how having the compassionate foundations within our staff and CASA volunteers have laid the foundation to truly help those who are vulnerable in our community. It's a core and common belief for our CASA program, and we dove into it during this discussi...

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January 24, 2024 26 mins

Every year, we recognize National Human Trafficking Awareness Month in January. On this episode, Gina Cavallo from the New Jersey Coalition Against Human Trafficking and also author of the book "A Survivor's Secrets" joined us for a dive into this issue. How do youth in our communities get involved in human trafficking? What are some signs for us to look for? How can we do better when it comes to human trafficking? All of this and ...

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January 8, 2024 16 mins

As we embark on 2024, we discussed what new beginnings mean for children who enter foster care. New beginnings extend to just about every facet of what we do at CASA.  If a child is removed from their home, it's a new beginning. If a child is reunited with their family, it's a new beginning. If a child is adopted, it's a new beginning. How should we be looking at new beginnings, and what is that transition like for children?

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December 21, 2023 15 mins

With the holiday season up on us, and as we get ready to close 2023, we wanted to share some CASA impact stories in this episode. Jeff and Tracey talk about how our CASA volunteers and their persistence make a difference and generate positive impact for foster youth in our region and communities. In fact, one of our amazing CASA volunteers "crashed" this podcast episode and made a brief appearance!

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Building trust-based relationships with youth is what CASA is all about. Our volunteers understand that it takes time to build trust with foster youth who have been abused and neglected. But how do we go about doing that? What are the strategies? We discuss in more detail in this week's episode.

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November 15, 2023 17 mins

How can we better advocate for equity within the foster care world and our local communities in general? Tracey and Jeff discuss the path CASA SHaW has embarked on, as well as their personal stories about learning what equity means, and how we can apply it into the mainstream. In the end, it's about serving our foster care youth the best we can.

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November 1, 2023 14 mins

On this episode, Tracey and Jeff dove into mental health during the holidays. The holidays can be a joy-filled season, but they can also be stressful and especially challenging for those impacted by mental illness. How can you look after your mental health during this time of year? We provided some strategies and tips.

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October 18, 2023 19 mins

It's important to recognize and discuss the ongoing work that's done here at CASA behind the scenes. There are so many moving cogs that help to provide foster youth in our community an advocate to be their voice as they navigate their way through the child welfare system. With that being said, what's behind the fund development curtain here at CASA? Our Director of Development, Ellen Davis, joined us on this episode to talk about t...

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On this episode, our extraordinary CASA volunteer, Mary Grossman, joined us to talk about how CASA is a team and how various relationships lead to the success and outcome of a case. Not only did Mary talk to us about how and why she became a CASA volunteer, but she also dove into her advocacy and what the relationship building through our CASA program has meant to her.

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September 13, 2023 18 mins

Often, we focus on our CASA volunteers and how they're handling their cases for foster youth. However, we wanted to take you behind the scenes and discuss how important our CASA Case Supervisors are, and the critical role they play for our CASA program. Marnie Carrick, one of our Case Supervisors, joined us on this episode to talk about the world of foster care, CASA advocacy, and what it's like from her perspective as she helps to...

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On this episode, Jeff and Tracey discuss the need to help foster youth who age out of the foster care system. What happens when a foster youth with no home, food, or a job ages out of the system? What resources are available to them? How can we help and provide assistance during this unimaginable time in their lives? We had a great discussion about this issue.

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