The COVID-19 pandemic and its potential impact on our community — including the children we serve, our volunteers, and our staff — is of great concern to us at Voices for Children. All CASAs should have received an email from our President & CEO, Kelly Douglas, on March 12 with details on how to best conduct your role as a CASA during this time. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to your advocacy supervisor.
Key recommendations as of March 12, 2020:
- Moving forward, please refrain from in-person CASA-related meetings or visits, including with your case children. Please take extra care during this time to explain to your case children why you aren't able to meet. Consider finding other creative ways to maintain your connection.
- Prioritize good communication with those on your case, especially your case children. Get creative with technology - phone, FaceTime, Skype - to maintain your connection or attend meetings if relevant. As always, stay in contact with your advocacy supervisor on any case issues.
- To the best of your ability, it is important for the well-being of our children that you continue to complete your court reports and submit them to firstname.lastname@example.org with your advocacy supervisor cc'd.
- Beginning Monday, March 16, the majority of Voices for Children staff will be working remotely. You will still be able to reach your advocacy supervisor via email and their same phone number, so don't hesitate to reach out to them with any questions. In addition, we ask that CASAs refrain from visiting the VFC office until further notice.
- Since we have encouraged our staff to not work and take care of themselves if they are sick, please be aware that you may be directed to or contacted by other members of our team if your advocacy supervisor is unavailable. Each and every member of our team is highly qualified and will gladly support you.
- If you have a case child over the age of 10 who has an upcoming hearing, there may be an opportunity for them to attend the hearing by phone. You can help make this possible by notifying the minor's attorney if your child is interested in participating in this way.
Reminders and Deadlines for CASAs
Remote Advocacy Guide
For the latest information, advice, and resources for advocating for case youth remotely while complying with stay-at-home restrictions related to COVID-19, please click here.
Despite recent disruptions in court hearings and in-person contact, we continue to submit court reports as usual. As a reminder, court reports are due 15 business days before the original scheduled hearing date.
March Volunteer Hours
To submit your February volunteer hours, please click here. When submitting your hours, remember to include hours spent driving to and from visits, meetings, and other CASA-related destinations. Thank you.
VFC Office Closures
IMPORTANT UPDATE: As of Monday, March 16, the majority of Voices for Children staff will be working remotely. You will still be able to reach your advocacy supervisor via email and their same phone number, so don't hesitate to reach out to them with any questions. We ask that CASAs refrain from visiting the VFC office until further notice.
In addition, we will be observing the following court holidays.
Tuesday, March 31 (César Chávez Day)
Monday, May 25 (Memorial Day)
Quarterly Mileage Reimbursement
To access the mileage reimbursement form for the period of January through March 2020, click here. The deadline to submit forms to your advocacy supervisor is Monday, April 6.
In-person small group meetings and continuing education programs are being postponed or cancelled through the end of March. Please note the following Continuing Education and Small Group meetings remain tentatively scheduled, pending possible future pandemic-related postponements. Please be sure to contact Voices for Children prior to the event to confirm it is taking place.
Due to COVID-19 precautions, all previously scheduled Small Group and Continuing Education sessions have been suspended until further notice. However, you can still earn Continuing Education credits for at-home activities, such as reading relevant books and watching relevant movies and TV programs. Also, we are looking into developing distance learning opportunities for CASAs and will update you once more specific information becomes available.
At-Home Continuing Education
This month’s at-home Continuing Education selection is There There, Tommy Orange’s award-winning debut novel about 12 Native American characters connected through a big Pow Wow gathering in Oakland. Through the interweaving stories of these characters, Orange explores myriad themes, including foster care, substance abuse, fetal alcohol syndrome disorders, domestic violence, poverty, and racism. If you read this or another relevant book, or watch a relevant movie or TV show, please contact your advocacy supervisor to receive Continuing Education credit.