It’s been over a year now since Crawford County CASA as well as other CASA programs and the world were faced with the COVID-19 outbreak. COVID-19 made it more challenging for CASA volunteers to assess each child’s safety and how to safely navigate through an uncertain time. Crawford County CASA’s primary concern was to ensure the well-being of children and families CASA serves. We adapted and continue our work in providing advocacy for children who have experienced abuse and neglect. In alignment with National CASA/GAL, we require our CASA volunteers to visit with the child in person once every 30 days at a minimum. At this time, our CASA volunteers have resumed in-person visits with their CASA child.
Crawford County CASA will continue to evaluate and be responsive as information from the CDC and our local court and Children and Youth agency is updated. We won’t stop our advocacy initiative to ensure children are safe. Here are the steps we are taking to keep our volunteers, staff, children, and their families as safe as possible while also fulfilling the CASA mission:
- We continue to monitor the health of staff and volunteers as well as the children and families we serve.
- Since most of our children have returned to in-person school, we have been able to check in with teachers and guidance counselors to gather information on how the child is doing academically, and how their attendance has been. We monitor this closely, as on any given day, the school can return to remote learning if there are Covid-19 cases. Our volunteers continue to monitor the child’s education progress closely to ensure the child is receiving the necessary services so they can thrive academically.
- Before volunteers or a staff member visit a child’s placement whether that is their biological home, kinship or foster home, or a residential treatment facility, we check to see if everyone is healthy and comfortable with this type of visit. We also check the policy of the residential treatment facility to ensure visitors are permitted and any other procedural changes. We continue to bring masks based on the policy or preference of the environment we are visiting.
- We continue to write and submit court reports for every hearing so that judges or the judicial hearing officer have a clear picture of the child’s well-being, development and if there are any other services the child may need. Currently, all hearings and meetings are held virtually, but if they are moved to in-person, volunteers and staff will adhere to all guidelines.
- We are committed to remaining that constant person in a child’s life. The needs of children won’t go away, and a CASA volunteer is here to elevate their voices and make sure they are heard.
If you are wondering how you can help during this time, please consider volunteering your time or donating.
We believe in creating a better world for our children! Children involved in the child welfare system deserve to have a voice and the opportunity to thrive in a permanent, safe environment. A child having that one constant person providing support can change the direction of their future. We invite you to join us and be a part of changing a child’s story. Explore our opportunities and join the CASA movement.