Remote Advocacy

Child/Youth Relationship

In-person visits between CASA volunteers and their child/youth are suspended during the shelter in place order and public health need for social distancing.

  • Explain to your child/youth in an age and developmentally appropriate manner that the reason for suspending your in-person visits is you are taking preventative steps to help keep your community - including yourself and your child/youth - healthy and safe.

  • Be honest in that you don’t know exactly how long it will be before your in-person visits can resume and it’s not up to you. When the shelter in place order is no longer effective, it will then depend on what the doctors advise us about social distancing.

  • Maintain consistent communication with your child/youth via phone calls, video calls (FaceTime, Zoom, Google Hangouts), text messages, emails, and/or US mail. 

    • Continue to have virtual contact at the same frequency as, or greater than, your in-person visits were occurring. Weekly contact is recommended.
    • Schedule phone/video calls in advance, as you normally would with in-person visits.
       
  • While confined at home, children/youth may appreciate receiving something in the mail such as a card, letter, activity or puzzle book.
    • Be mindful of the child/youth’s household situation and the impact that sending items may have on others in the home.
    • Use the CASA office address as the return address when sending anything to your child/youth via mail.
    • CASA staff continue to retrieve mail from the CASA office in the event your child/youth wishes to mail something to you.
  • Reassure your child/youth that you plan to resume your in-person visits as soon as it’s allowed. 

  • Start a joint list of activities or things the two of you want to do when your visits resume to show you are planning for and looking forward to future in-person visits.

  • If your youth is AWOL, continue to reach out via phone or text with words of encouragement and tips for keeping themselves and others healthy.

  • If/When discussing COVID-19 with your child/youth

    • Ask the child/youth what they’ve heard or know about it to give you a sense of their feelings and perceptions - or misperceptions - of the current situation.
    • Follow your child/youth’s lead. If they don’t seem interested in discussing it or ask many questions, that’s okay.
    • Stick to the facts and what you know - how COVID-19 is transmitted and best practices to prevent infection - and be honest about what you don’t know.
    • Explain that sheltering in place and social distancing is how we can help slow the spread of the virus while a vaccine and treatments are developed.
    • Avoid anxiety-provoking statements like “Everyone is scared” or “There’s nothing we can do.”
    • Offer reassuring facts such as “There are doctors and scientists around the world working hard to keep people healthy” and “We can help protect ourselves by washing out hands with soap and covering our mouths with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.”
    • Talking to Children About COVID-19 (NASP) | Talking to Children About COVID-19 (AACAP)

Court Reports and Hearings

All hearings scheduled to be held during the Court’s closure will be reset to a new date when Court reopens.

  • Your Case Coordinator will provide you with your hearing’s new date/time if it was scheduled to occur during the closure.

  • Submit your court report worksheet by its original due date.

  • The exact protocol for hearings when the Court reopens is unknown but CASA volunteers are not expected to personally appear at Court during this health crisis (or any time that a CASA volunteer’s health or safety is at risk).

Case Review

Case Reviews will be held via Zoom video conferencing on their regularly scheduled dates/times.

  • A Case Coordinator will send you an email reminder that includes the link and instructions for joining case review via Zoom.

  • Complete and upload your case review form to ShareFile no later than the day prior to case review.

Education

While schools are closed, students should continue receiving an education through distance learning while earning credits toward graduation.

  • Encourage your child/youth to do their assigned school work in order to receive credits and graduate on time.

  • Find out from the caregiver how school/distance learning assignments are being completed.

  • If a student has mental health accommodations per their IEP, such as weekly counseling, the school should still be reaching out to the student to provide that service.

Child and Family Team (CFT) Meetings

CFT meetings may be held via video or audio conferencing. The priority for holding CFT meetings will be those focused on the immediate or contingency planning for children at risk of losing their placement.