A Fantastic TED Talk (learn a whole new perspective on healing)

Jane McGonigal’s TED talk takes an approach to life and trauma that is very different, uplifitng, and perhaps the most remarkable insights I have experienced on this topic in years.    When game designer Jane McGonigal found herself bedridden and suicidal following a severe concussion, she had a fascinating idea for how to get better.…

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Admitting I Have Problem Is The Hardest Part (thank you Brandon Stahl for identifying the problem)

Brandon Stahl’s reporting has been the best thing to happen for Minnesota’s abused and neglected children in my lifetime.

As a longtime volunteer CASA guardian ad-Litem, I have seen an underfunded and not too healthy child protection system become sclerotic, insular, and unresponsive to the needs of our most vulnerable children.

The slow tortured death of Eric Dean was only reported in a newspaper because he died. Had he lived, we would not know about it. I have children in my CASA guardian ad-Litem caseload that suffered just like Eric, and no one knows about their suffering but me (and people that read my words).

Over the past twenty years, I have watched underfunded, under-trained, under-resourced child protection workers (including judges, educators, day care and health providers, foster and adoptive families, try to work with cold and unresponsive systems that are now creating exactly what they were designed to stop.

I have seen lives of very young children destroyed forever because easily available information was ignored. Plenty of children in Minnesota have had Eric Dean type torture that no one knows about (because our systems are overwhelmed and unresponsive).

Governor Dayton’s proposed investigation should uncover the sad truth that no child protection information gets public attention unless a child has died violently.

The fact that most counties don’t keep past reports of screened out cases and are prohibited from considering past reports when evaluating new charges of child abuse should be seen for the awful impact it is having on children living in toxic homes (it leaves children in homes where they are molested, neglected, tortured, and murdered).

That Minnesota Counties don’t report death and near death of children as required by Federal Law is misfeasance, nonfeasance, or malfeasance and should be viewed as a crime worth punishment.

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Adoption, Kinship and Grandparents (a tribute)

The saddest letters KARA receives come from grandparents that have watched their grandchildren horridly abused and then kept out of the loop while a cold and efficient system moves the child into a home and cutting off all further contact for the grandparents.

Almost 8 million children in America live with grandparents and other relatives. Most of them receive little or not help from governmental agencies.

Not all counties and states appreciate that it is easier for a child to restart a painfully disrupted life with someone they are connected to and have memories of than waking up in a home they have never seen before with people they don’t know.

Grandparents often don’t know about the court proceedings that are about to forever alter their relationship with grandchildren as they may live in another city or have become estranged from their badly behaving children.

Even if grandparents know of court proceedings, it can be very hard for them to have standing in the court or navigate the system once they are in it.

The saddest letters KARA receives come from grandparents that have watched their grandchildren horridly abused and then kept out of the loop while a cold and efficient system moves the child into a home and cutting off all further contact for the grandparents.

Everyone needs a lawyer and lawyers are expensive. I know grandparents that have spent tens of thousands of dollars trying desperately to provide a safe and familiar home for their grandchild.

It doesn’t seem right that money should be a biggest part of an adoption equation for grandma and grandpa (or other relatives) to make their argument for custody.

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ALERT For MN Child Protection – Rolling Back Child Protection Reforms (from Safe Passage for Children MN)

This week county social services directors and the Department of Human Services (DHS) presented a plan to legislators that would significantly weaken reforms approved by the Governor’s Child Protection Task Force. Items they recommended dropping include:http://safepassagemn.com/counties-propose-rolling-back-child-protection-reforms/

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Another Guardian ad-Litem Speaks (thank you David Strand)

Here is how civilized, non-superstitious nations fight problems afflicting their children. The citizens of these enlightened societies use government resources. Their governments are actually controlled by them. Doctors, nurses, social workers, teachers and counselors are employees of the public, via government. They don’t have for-profit hospitals, for-profit schools or for-profit prisons.

They also emphasize prevention instead of cure. Consequently, they spend far less than we do for health care, education, and corrective justice. That’s why their health care and education systems are far less expensive while producing better outcomes. It’s more bang for the buck, what Americans are supposed to prefer.

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Another Happy CASA Story

A couple of weeks ago at an “Everyday Courage” event sponsored by the California Endowment I met a very caring and compassionate woman named Rosa Arevalo. Rosa works for CASA of Los Angeles a non-profit organization that recruits, trains, and supports CASA volunteers(Court Appointed Special Advocates) to transform the lives of abused and neglected children. It is the only organization in Los Angeles County providing court-assigned volunteer advocates serving foster children in the dependency court.

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Beer, Music, Fabulous Trips (Africa/DisneyWorld) Join CASA MN March 9th at Surly Brewing 530pm (our annual fundraiser)

It’s gonna be great. Join CASA MN at our fundraiser (silent and live auction) and learn about the good work volunteer guardian ad-Litems do.

5:30 – 8:30 p.m. 520 Malcolm Avenue Southeast Minneapolis

Beer, hors d’ oeuvres, music, opportunities for fabulous trips (African photo safari or DisneyWorld, anyone?), and – best of all – a time to celebrate the good work of CASA Minnesota and its volunteers. Who could want more?

Seating limited – tickets on sale now!

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Better Futures for Minnesota Children (from Safe Passage For Children MN)

Mission:

To rebuild the Minnesota child welfare system so children are safe and reach their full potential.

Vision:
There will always be a group of Minnesota citizens who advocate on behalf of victims of child maltreatment, and who will hold counties and the state accountable for continuously improving outcomes for these children and their families.

Goal:
Our goal is to build a child protection and foster care system in Minnesota that

continuously improves the lives of children, as demonstrated by objective, measurable outcomes. If the system is working well children’s outcomes will improve over time.

The following are major milestones for achieving this goal:

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By 2017 all children will be periodically assessed for their level of trauma starting when they first enter child protection.
By 2019 all children in the system will be periodically assessed for improvements in their cognitive and physical development, as well as in measures of behavioral and mental health.
Workers and supervisors will be accountable for improving these outcomes for individual children as monitored through quality reviews and updates to the courts.
Counties will be accountable for improving outcomes for children in their caseloads overall as shown by summary reports.
In subsequent years our goal is to continue to monitor outcomes at the county and state levels, and advocate for necessary budget allocations, practice improvements, and related resources to ensure that the child protection system is continually improving its response to children.

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Brandon Stahl’s investigating and Safe Passage’s volunteers are changing lives

  Brandon Stahl’s reporting (September 2014) on the tortured death of 4 year old Eric Dean and his  powerful Star Tribune articles about tortured children & the “catastrophic failure” of child protection in Minnesota (Governor Dayton’s words), shine light into the invisible world of child abuse that is so hard to talk about and so…

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Cars With 3 Wheels (From Our Friends At Safe Passage For Children Of Minnesota)

A car with three wheels is not 75% as good as one with four. There is a minimum set of features without which a car won’t move at all.

This principle applies to child welfare because elected officials have frequently given this program much less than managers request, and assumed they somehow will make things work. But if the system has, for example, adequate staffing but poor training, or lacks a quality assurance program, it is like a 3-wheeled car. It simply won’t run.

Minnesota has an historic opportunity to rebuild its child welfare program. To accomplish this the legislature must step up to approve the $50 million that the Governor has put in his budget, so state and county managers have the tools they need to do the job.

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CASA & GUARDIAN AD – LITEM NEWS (for August)

Local children in desperate need of CASAs — Court Appointed Special Advocates
Arizona Silver Belt
A CASA is a Court Appointed Special Advocate, who is there to represent a neglected or abused child’s best interests and needs. Neglected children often have trouble trusting adults. For the complete article see the 06-26-2013 issue. Click here to …
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CASA director: ‘Meth use more prevalent’
York News-Times
YORK – “We are seeing substance abuse issues rising in York County,” said Carl Knieriem, director of the local Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). “Methamphetamine use is more prevalent again. It had been dramatically reduced, but now it’s once …
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Big screen classic meets a good cause: Casablanca screening will benefit …
Cherokee Tribune
Canton Theatre manager Bob Seguin stands outside of the theater where the CASAblanca Downtown Dinner & A Movie event benefiting Cherokee County Court Appointed Special Advocates will be presented on Saturday. Starring Humphrey Bogart and …
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CASA to host Bridges Out of Poverty Sept. 5
Rockford Register Star
ROCKFORD — Winnebago County Court Appointed Special Advocates will present Bridges Out of Poverty from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 5 at the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center, 200 S. Bell School Road, Rockford. Guest speaker Jodi Pfarr will discuss …
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10 Roanoke Valley volunteers complete training to become child advocates
Roanoke Times
Ten Roanoke Valley volunteers completed 30 hours of training this spring to become Court Appointed Special Advocates, representing children’s interests in court proceedings when they become displaced because child abuse and neglect charges have …
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CASA needs volunteers before August classes
Cleburne Times-Review
Nationally, CASA is a network of 946 programs that are recruiting, training and supporting volunteers to be court-appointed special advocates to represent the best interests of children in the courtroom and other settings, according to the CASA website.
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You are here
Fort Smith Times Record
Renee Day, vice president of finance for Baylor Research Institute in Dallas and assistant treasurer, investments, for Baylor Health Care System, was recently elected to the Texas Court Appointed Special Advocates Board of Directors. The board governs …
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Yellowstone CASA hires four
Billings Gazette
Yellowstone Yellowstone CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) has hired four new staffers. Drew MacLeod, Ryan Cremer and Tracie Rabinowitz are volunteer coordinators, and Tricia Hergett is the new executive assistant. MacLeod will supervise …
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CASA creates ‘Chili’ connection
Mineral Wells Index
The current Court Appointed Special Advocate fundraising campaign is getting some local help from Chili’s in Mineral Wells. Though “A Dollar for CASA” challenges locals to support the organization a buck at a time, the area restaurant is not stopping …
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CASA inducts 8 new volunteers
Edmond Sun
CITY — Court Appointed Special Advocates recently swore in eight new advocates. Jessica Gavura, Dearra Godinez, Jane Greene, Susan Griffin, Nancy Hamilton, Rhonda Kerbo, Julie Krywicki and Equilla Samuel were sworn in during the June 11 ceremony …

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CASA Clarification – Mike’s Mistake

It has been pointed out to me that in some instances my writing leads readers to think that CASA guardian ad-Litems are part of child protective service when in fact (and I know this inside and out) CASA is child advocacy within the institution of child protection. Forgive me for this error and please appreciate that CASA/GAL is all about child advocacy.

For more information about:

CASAMN

CASA National
CASA your state

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CASA Guardian ad Litem News From Around the Nation July 2016

FIND YOUR CASA here – This page tells the stories of  CASA’s around the U.S.  If you are not listed, send me your info and we will include it.  Thank you KARA volunteers for your research and writing on this page. All Adults Are the Protectors Of All Children Join the Conversation at Linked In &…

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CASA guardian ad-Litem News (find your state here) August 2015

A baby is born addicted to opiates, a young child wakes up to find their parent unresponsive with a needle in their arm, siblings sit in the back seat of a car parked on a country road as their parents are shooting up heroin. LaPorte County and Indiana are experiencing an epidemic. It is drug abuse. In the Merriam-Webster dictionary, epidemic is listed as affecting or tending to affect a disproportionately large number of individuals within a population, community or region at the same time. Certainly we can describe the current rapid spread of opiate use an epidemic.
Last year, there were 17 deaths from heroin overdoses in LaPorte County and Indiana is increasing its needle-exchange program beyond Scott County. The Indiana Department of Child Services is reporting a record-breaking year for child abuse cases. It’s only June and in LaPorte County alone, 50 children have been placed out of their homes due to abuse or neglect.

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CASA guardian ad-Litem News April & May 2016

CASA Child Advocates
Montgomery County Newspaper
WHY: CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County held its first in-office corporate training for volunteers last month at the new Exxon Mobil …
CASA breakfast serves up a ‘Ray of Hope’ – Bonner County Daily Bee
CASA of Denton County to hold information session – Star Local Media
Look into becoming a CASA volunteer – Victoria Advocate
Full Coverage

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CASA training begins in June
Choteau Acantha
Training will be begin in June for Front Range CASA volunteers to serve as court-appointed special advocates for abused and neglected children.
Golden Crescent CASA needs volunteers – Victoria Advocate
Local Scottsdale resident advocates for foster children – Scottsdale Independent
Full Coverage

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Area CASA swears in 4 new advocates
Corpus Christi Caller-Times
Judge Patrick Flanigan swears in the second class of court-appointed special advocates, or CASAs, for CASA of Bee, Live Oak and McMullen counties …

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New CASA advocate
White Mountain Independent
Presiding Judge Michael Latham congratulates Michele Sexton after swearing her in as a court appointed special sdvocate (CASA) for Apache County …

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Pay it Forward recognizes Jeanne Linn of CASA
KTVZ
The biggest CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocates) fundraiser of the year took place Thursday evening at Broken Top Golf Club CASA works with …

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CASA program a great way to help local foster children
Ontario Argus Observer
Court Appointed Special Advocates get to know children in foster care. They spend time with the kids, observe their interactions with their families, and …

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Dining For A Cause – CASA Of Ocean County
Micromedia Publications
casa1 OCEAN COUNTY – CASA of Ocean County will celebrate their 10 year anniversary advocating for Ocean County children in foster care on …

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CASA of Terrebonne: More than 100 kids need a volunteer
Daily Comet
One-hundred and eleven foster care children are currently in need of a volunteer to advocate for them in the local courts system, according to CASA of …

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Members learn about CASA
The Hillsdale Daily News
HILLSDALE — The Hillsdale Intermediate School District administration building, located on West Bacon Street, was the scene for the most recent …

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County court adds six advocates for kids
Daily Astorian
The Clatsop Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Program recently announced six new volunteers have joined in serving abused and neglected …

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WEB
Become an Alameda County Court Appointed Special Advocate
Idealist.org
Are you interested in being a powerful voice in a child’s life? Come to an Informational Session to learn if being a CASA Volunteer is right for you.

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CASA guardian ad-Litem News Around The Nation 1.1.16-2.13.16

FIND YOUR CASA here – This page tells the stories of CASA’s around the U.S. If you are not listed, send me your info and we will include it. Thank you Sai Yang and Century College for your research and writing on this page.

See what other CASA volunteers are doing – share your stories and blogs; info@invisiblechildren.org

– See more at: CASA News

An advocate for adolescents
Sierra Vista Herald
For the last 20 years, Hager has volunteered as a Court Appointed Special Advocate — who call themselves CASAs — for Cochise County. A CASA is …
Chamber Spotlight: CASA volunteers work to help abused, neglected children – gulflive.com (blog)
CASA volunteer training set for February – Tahlequah Daily Press
Determined, and a bit overwhelmed, I work through rigorous CASA training – Grand Junction Daily Sentinel
Full Coverage

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DCS workers deny allegations they failed to protect abused child
nwitimes.com
Elizabeth Lozano took the 4-year-old boy to a hearing in Lake County on Oct. 23, 2013, and a court-appointed special advocate noticed he had a …

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Public invited to CASA of McKean County annual meeting
Bradford Era
Bob Esch, board president, will talk about what is special about being a Court-Appointed Special Advocate. CASA volunteer Gary DeVore of Port …

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Letter: Remembering Chief Judge Kaye
Albany Times Union
The Court Appointed Special Advocates Programs of New York state and the New York State CASA Association are deeply saddened by the recent …

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CASA guardian ad-Litem News Around The Nation 10.1.15 Through 12.31.15

FIND YOUR CASA here – This page tells the stories of CASA’s around the U.S. If you are not listed, send me your info and we will include it. Thank you Sai Yang and Century College for your research and writing on this page.

See what other CASA volunteers are doing – share your stories and blogs; info@invisiblechildren.org

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CASA Guardian ad-Litem News Around the Nation December 2016 -January 2017

FIND YOUR CASA here – CASA’s around the U.S. If you are not listed, send me your info and we will include it. Thank you Sai Yang and Century College for your research and writing on this page.

These CASA guardian ad-Litem articles have been gathered from around the nation.

Find out what the other 975 CASA’s from around the nation are up to.

Last year, more than 76,000 CASA and guardian ad litem volunteers helped more than 251,000 abused and neglected children find safe, permanent homes, according to casaforchildren.org. Volunteers are everyday citizens who have undergone screening and training with their local advocate program.

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CASA guardian ad-Litem News Around the Nation for June 2016

FIND YOUR CASA here – This page tells the stories of CASA’s around the U.S. If you are not listed, send me your info and we will include it. Thank you Sai Yang and Century College for your research and writing on this page.

These CASA guardian ad-Litem articles have been gathered from around the nation.

This is where you can find out what the other 975 CASA’s from around the nation are up to.

Volunteer to help KARA maintain this page; info@invisiblechildren.org (do you know an active or retired GAL that might have time to gather guardian ad-Litem news?)

All Adults Are the Protectors Of All Children

Join the Conversation at Linked In & receive weekly updates from around the nation

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CASA guardian ad-Litem News Feb thru May 2017 Part II (be a voice for children)

FIND YOUR CASA here – CASA’s around the U.S. If you are not listed, send me your info and we will include it.

Find out what the other 975 CASA’s from around the nation are up to.

Last year, more than 76,000 CASA and guardian ad litem volunteers helped more than 251,000 abused and neglected children find safe, permanent homes, according to casaforchildren.org. Volunteers are everyday citizens who have undergone screening and training with their local advocate program.

Volunteer to be a CASA guardian ad Litem,

Help KARA maintain this page; info@invisiblechildren.org (do you know an active or retired GAL that might have time to gather guardian ad-Litem news?)

All Adults Are The Protectors of All Children

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