CASA Volunteer Training Manual


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the national casa association volunteer training curriculum volunteer manual 2007 revision


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acknowledgments special thanks to everyone who participated in this collaborative design process national court appointed special advocate association © 2007 national court appointed special advocate association 100 west harrison street north tower suite 500 seattle wa 98119 800 628-3233 the national casa association together with its state and local members supports and promotes court appointed volunteer advocacy for abused and neglected children so that they can thrive in safe permanent homes national casa curriculum advisory committee cindy bizzell north carolina judicial branch education manager raleigh nc rebecca grossman training manager national casa seattle wa marion hallum state director alaska casa anchorage ak veronica montaño-pilch training specialist national casa albuquerque nm isabel morales senior project associate casey center for effective child welfare practice new haven ct helen norris director pawnee tribal court casa pawnee ok portia osborne african american advisory committee national casa san francisco ca diane payne children s justice specialist tribal law and policy institute anchorage ak derek peak program director california casa oakland ca john ray contract trainer/retired casa program director kalamazoo mi diane robinson co-coordinator court improvement project/casa volunteer little rock ar susanne smith program manager 4th judicial district guardian ad litem program minneapolis mn janet ward program services specialist national casa columbus in brian washburn training director national casa seattle wa carol weisheit contract trainer/former state director illinois casa normal il gwen wesley contract trainer/casa volunteer st louis county casa st louis mo ben wilkins recruitment and training director dallas casa dallas tx pilot training volunteers staff dallas casa dallas tx · trainer ben wilkins casa of st louis county st louis mo · trainer nickie steinoff this project was supported by cooperative agreement no 2002-chbx-k001 from the office of juvenile justice and delinquency prevention office of justice programs u.s department of justice points of view or opinions in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the u.s department of justice casa of monroe county temperance mi · trainers dot stacy denise gray and kelly schuck chaves county casa roswell nm · trainer kristen holcomb-salyards lone star casa inc rockwall tx · trainer karen larman pikes peak region colorado springs co · trainer trudy strewler casa of pueblo pueblo co · trainers kathy cline zane grant and drucilla pugh tulare county casa visalia ca · trainers sid loveless and marilyn barr cowlitz county casa longview wa · trainers tina trigg and beth fellows sarpy county casa papillion ne · trainer georgie scurfield casa of the 20th district conway ar · trainer diane robinson curriculum production team jenny anttila curriculum print coordinator accent print edmonds wa sally wilson erny chief program officer national casa seattle wa tracy flynn former training director national casa seattle wa jennie goode curriculum writer and editor seattle wa rebecca grossman training manager national casa seattle wa sharon heiber writer/editor national casa seattle wa joanne lauterjung kelly graphic designer muse indigo seattle wa anne mathews curriculum proofreader seattle wa brian washburn training director national casa seattle wa


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how to use the volunteer manual the national casa/gal volunteer training curriculum is designed to give you a solid base of knowledge and skills to begin your volunteer work the volunteer manual will serve as your guide during training and will continue to be an important resource to which you refer throughout your service as a casa/gal volunteer the manual begins with an overview of the casa/gal volunteer role the need for volunteer advocates and the history of child advocacy in the united states it then moves into specific skills and knowledge you need in order to work effectively with children and families next you learn about the specific steps you will follow once you are assigned to a case from gathering information and taking notes to writing court reports and monitoring a case the final chapter covers procedural information and gives you a chance to review the information and skills you have learned the material in each chapter builds on knowledge gained in previous chapters and information and tasks progress from simple to complex each chapter centers on a series of activities these activities are designed with the understanding that different people learn differently for instance some people are highly visual learners while others learn best when hearing material read aloud or when connecting movement and action to the learning process each chapter includes activities that appeal to various learning styles the activities are designed to help you learn new material relate it to what you already know apply what you ve learned and consider how you will use it in the future activity instructions appear in boxes and are frequently followed by text or worksheets.


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the curriculum s case studies allow you to apply what you are learning to a case you will use the harris-price case which appears at the end of chapter 1 to apply material from chapters 1­7 you will use the kaylee moore case which unfolds throughout chapters 8 and 9 as you practice various aspects of the casa/gal volunteer role an optional activity in chapter 10 uses a third case as a wrap-up for the entire curriculum the facilitator will assign homework at the end of each chapter the homework is an essential tool it allows you to apply what you ve learned explore topics in more depth or prepare for the next session throughout the volunteer manual you will find learn more references in the margins these point you to websites or to the curriculum s resource materials for more in-depth exploration of a particular topic the glossary at the back of the volunteer manual defines terms that appear in the curriculum as well as those that you will encounter during your work as a volunteer a list of web resources appears at the back of the volunteer manual and on the resource materials cd organized by topics covered in chapters 1­7 this list points to a wealth of websites where you can find additional information about topics related to casa/gal volunteer work also organized by chapter the resource materials cd contains articles that provide in-depth exploration of topics touched on in the volunteer manual if you do not have access to a computer with a cd drive please tell the facilitator and make arrangements to access the resource materials in another form throughout the curriculum the facilitator will provide additional handouts some of which provide information specific to your local area or tribal program insert the handouts in the appropriate chapter in the volunteer manual so you can refer back to them in the future the facilitator will hand out time sheets during the first training session use this time sheet to keep track of the time you spend training traveling to and from class doing homework and so on for the length of the training this will help you become accustomed to tracking your volunteer hours the facilitator will collect these time sheets at the end of the training course v-ii national casa volunteer manual


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chapter 1 introducing the casa/gal volunteer role unit 1 unit 2 unit 3 unit 4 chapter 2 introducing the law the child protection system the courts unit 1 unit 2 unit 3 chapter 3 developing cultural competence unit 1 unit 2 unit 3 unit 4 unit 5 chapter 4 understanding families part 1 unit 1 unit 2 unit 3 unit 4 unit 5 unit 6 chapter 5 understanding families part 2 unit 1 unit 2 unit 3 the impact of substance abuse/addiction on children families .5-4 poverty the facts for children .5-14 the importance of family to a child .5-18 family strengths .4-3 understanding families through culture .4-8 stress in families .4-10 risk factors for child abuse neglect .4-12 the impact of mental illness on children families .4-16 the impact of domestic violence on children families .4-19 diversity .3-4 cultural heritage .3-9 personal values .3-11 culturally competent child advocacy .3-14 developing an action plan .3-18 the development of child abuse neglect laws .2-3 introducing cps the court process .2-12 the roles in a juvenile court case .2-19 welcome 1-3 understanding child abuse neglect 1-6 principles concepts that guide casa/gal volunteer work 1-8 looking ahead 1-12 table of contents the harris-price case 1-17 national casa volunteer manual v-iii


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chapter 6 understanding children unit 1 unit 2 unit 3 unit 4 unit 5 unit 6 chapter 7 communicating as a casa/gal volunteer unit 1 unit 2 unit 3 unit 4 chapter 8 practicing the casa/gal volunteer role gathering information the kaylee moore case .8-3 unit 1 unit 2 unit 3 unit 4 chapter 9 practicing the casa/gal volunteer role reporting monitoring unit 1 unit 2 unit 3 unit 4 community resources .9-3 writing court reports making effective recommendations .9-4 appearing in court .9-13 monitoring a case .9-15 how a casa/gal volunteer is appointed to a case .8-5 planning the investigation gathering information .8-10 a successful casa/gal volunteer interview .8-16 investigating a case .8-22 developing communication skills .7-3 communicating with children .7-11 dealing with conflict .7-15 understanding confidentiality .7-23 the needs of children .6-4 how children grow develop .6-8 attachment resilience .6-12 separation .6-15 permanence for children .6-21 psychological educational issues for children .6-26 chapter 10 pulling it all together unit 1 unit 2 unit 3 unit 4 self-care for volunteers .10-3 support from casa/gal program staff .10-5 focusing on the needs of the child .10-9 training wrap-up .10-11 glossary g-1 web resources .wr-1 v-iv national casa volunteer manual


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chapter 1 introducing the casa/gal volunteer role contents homework recap goal objectives 1-2 unit 1 welcome 1-3 unit 2 understanding child abuse neglect 1-6 unit 3 principles concepts that guide casa/gal volunteer work 1-8 unit 4 looking ahead 1-12 homework 1-16 the harris-price case 1-17 1


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chapter 1 introducing the casa/gal volunteer role homework recap prior to beginning work on this chapter you should read the harrisprice training case this case is not based on one particular family but is a composite of experiences of families involved in the child protective services system a copy of this case appears at the end of this chapter 1 goal in this chapter i will explore the goals of casa/gal volunteer training i will learn what i can expect and what is expected of me as an active participant in this training program additionally i will learn how to recognize child abuse and neglect finally i will be introduced to the roles and responsibilities of a casa/gal volunteer objectives by the end of this chapter i will be able to describe the casa/gal volunteer mission of advocating for children articulate what constitutes child abuse and neglect explain what is meant by best interest and minimum sufficient level of care define the casa/gal volunteer role and the parameters of the volunteer-child relationship identify attitudes values and skills that will help me perform my casa/gal volunteer work describe what is expected of me during the training and identify my expectations for this training course v1-2 introducing the casa/gal volunteer role


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welcome to casa/gal volunteer training this training is designed to provide you the opportunity to acquire the skills knowledge and attitudes needed to be a casa/gal volunteer an advocate for children who find themselves involved in the court system through no fault of their own the children with whom you will work are victims of child abuse and neglect and many of them are in foster care they need a voice in court in order to find a safe permanent home quickly whether that means returning to a parent or being adopted as a casa gal volunteer you will provide that voice sharing with the court both the child s wishes and your recommendations about what is in that child s best interest it is important work that requires the commitment of your time your energy and your heart the purpose of this training is to develop volunteers who are competent reasonably autonomous and able to exercise good judgment as casa gal volunteers it is designed to model values important to casa/gal volunteer work including autonomy responsibility self-awareness respect for differences critical thinking and collaboration unit 1 welcome chapter 1 activity 1a video introduction part 1 the facilitator will show a video that gives a broad overview of the difference that casa/gal volunteers can make in a child s life as you watch the video think about ben robert and rose the children in the harris-price training case which you read for homework consider how norma jackson their casa/gal volunteer is making a positive difference in their lives part 2 select a partner and introduce yourself share your reasons for becoming a casa/gal volunteer and name one concern that you have about volunteering after five minutes return to the large group and introduce yourself to your fellow participants by sharing your name and one word that describes your reason for volunteering activity 1b the history mission read the following material about the history of the casa/gal volunteer role and the mission of the national casa association then listen as the facilitator presents information about the history and mission of your local casa/gal program consider whether these statements are in line with your goals for volunteering national casa volunteer manual v1-3


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chapter 1 1 history of the casa/gal volunteer role guardian ad litem the term ad litem means for the suit or for the court case it is an old concept in anglo saxon times at common law the king appointed a guardian ad litem to speak on behalf of a child or incompetent person as part of their general powers judges today have the discretion to appoint a guardian ad litem gal in all types of court matters some states require that the guardian ad litem be an attorney others do not in 1974 the child abuse prevention and treatment act capta mandated the appointment of a guardian ad litem in child abuse and neglect cases it was no longer up to the judge s discretion unit unit 2 unit 3 volunteer guardians ad litem judge david soukup juvenile court king county seattle washington was dissatisfied with the same case plans and same recommendations for child after child he believed more individualized attention would produce better outcomes judge soukup solicited ideas for system improvement from court staff out of these ideas evolved the idea for community volunteers to act as child advocates the volunteer guardian ad litem program began in king county in 1977 the guardian ad litem did not have to be an attorney the program recruited volunteers from the community and provided training and support similar programs were developed in other states localities as judges spread word of the concept unit 4 national casa the national court appointed special advocate association national casa was created in 1982 to support volunteer child advocate programs and increase the number of volunteer child advocates nationwide hallmarks of a casa/gal volunteer program include · · · advocacy for abused and neglected children in court volunteers who are recruited screened trained supervised and supported adherence to national standards programs go by many names casa gal prokids voices for children child advocates but all have this in common volunteers who advocate for abused and neglected children in the court system v1-4 introducing the casa/gal volunteer role


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national casa mission the national casa association together with its state and local members supports and promotes court-appointed volunteer advocacy for abused and neglected children so that they can thrive in safe permanent homes national casa standards describe the major criteria the casa/gal volunteer must meet the following statements describe the casa/gal volunteer · an individual who has been screened and trained by the casa/gal program and appointed by the court to advocate for children who come into the court system primarily as a result of alleged abuse or neglect an individual who respects a child s inherent right to grow up with dignity in a safe environment that meets that child s best interests an individual who assures that the child s best interests are represented in the court at every stage of the case chapter 1 1 unit unit 2 unit · · 3 unit 4 national casa volunteer manual v1-5


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chapter 1 unit 2 did you know that · · · · · · there are more than 870,000 cases of abuse documented each year more than 1,250 children will die each year as the direct result of identifiable abuse or neglect the majority of child abuse and neglect deaths are children under 5 years old nine out of ten abusers are the child s own parents/guardians one out of four girls and one out of five to seven boys will be sexually assaulted by the age of 18 between 80 and 90 of our prison population reports being victims of abuse from child maltreatment 2004 administration for children and families washington dc and talking about touching committee for children seattle understanding child abuse neglect activity 1c seeing the whole child in order to recognize child abuse or neglect it s important to look at all aspects of a child s life and identify what makes for a happy well-adjusted child on the flipchart at the front of the room you will see a circle divided into four quadrants these quadrants represent four aspects of a child s life the intellectual the spiritual the physical and the emotional in the large group brainstorm ideas of what makes for a happy child in each of these areas of life child abuse is an act of commission child neglect is an act of omission activity 1d the continuum of abuse part 1 child abuse can be seen as part of a continuum of behaviors at the low end of the continuum are behaviors you might consider poor parenting or disrespectful behavior at the high end are behaviors that lead directly or indirectly to the death of a child on the flipcharts at the front of the room the facilitator has created continuums for physical abuse emotional/verbal abuse sexual abuse and neglect in the large group think of behaviors that you consider abusive or neglectful and discuss where on the flipchart continuums they would fall part 2 look at the handout that contains your state statutes defining abuse and neglect still in the large group identify which behaviors listed on the flipchart meet the legal definition of abuse or neglect and which do not you will learn more about child abuse and neglect laws in chapter 2 learn more for more information on child neglect child physical abuse and child sexual abuse see the fact sheets in the chapter 1 resource materials activity 1e indicators of abuse read the following chart which describes different kinds of abuse and neglect and lists indicators of each type of abuse share any questions you have in the large group v1-6 introducing the casa/gal volunteer role


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recognizing abuse description indicators chapter 1 1 physical abuse intentionally harming a child use of excessive force reckless endangerment · · · · · · · unexplained bruises welts and scars injuries in various stages of healing bite marks unexplained burns fractures injuries not fitting explanation internal damage or head injury unit unit 2 sexual abuse engaging a child in any activity for an adult s own sexual gratification · · · · · · · · · age-inappropriate sexual knowledge sexual acting out child disclosure of abuse excessive masturbation physical injury to genital area pregnancy or std at a young age torn stained or bloody underclothing depression distress or trauma extreme fear unit 3 unit 4 emotional abuse the systematic diminishment of a child it is designed to reduce a child s self-concept to the point where the child feels unworthy of respect unworthy of friendship and unworthy of love and protection the natural birthrights of all children · habit disorders thumb sucking biting rocking enuresis · conduct disorders withdrawal or antisocial behavior · behavior extremes · overly adaptive behavior · lags in emotional or intellectual development · low self-esteem · depression suicide attempts neglect failure of a person responsible for the child s welfare to provide necessary food care clothing shelter or medical attention can also be failure to act when such failure interferes with a child s health and safety physical signs · malnourishment · missed immunizations · lack of dental care · lack of supervision · consistent dirtiness · constant tiredness/listlessness material signs · insufficient/improper clothing · filthy living conditions · inadequate shelter · insufficient food/poor nutrition national casa volunteer manual v1-7


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chapter 1 unit 3 what is best interest activity 1f understanding best interest part 1 listen as the facilitator introduces the principle of best interest principles concepts that guide casa/gal volunteer work the best interest principle what it means · · · a safe home a permanent home as quickly as possible parents typically decide what is best for their children and then provide it for them to the extent that they can they are their children s best advocates the child protection system intervenes in families lives when parents cannot or will not protect promote and provide for their children s basic needs a casa/gal volunteer becomes the advocate when the parents cannot or will not fulfill this role judges use the best interest of the child standard when making their decisions in child abuse and neglect cases child welfare and juvenile court practitioners and scholars have debated the meaning of best interest of the child for years books have been written on the subject however there is still no concise legal definition for this standard in cases where the indian child welfare act icwa applies the law presumes that it is always in the best interest of an indian child to have the tribe determine what is best for the child s future you will learn more about icwa in chapter 2 part 2 look at national casa s statement about the best interest principle identify key words or phrases that will be important to you in your role as a casa/gal volunteer the best interest principle what national casa says the casa/gal volunteer is guided by the best interest principle when advocating for a child this means that the volunteer knows the child well enough to identify the child s needs the volunteer makes factbased recommendations to the court about appropriate resources to meet those needs and informs the court of the child s wishes whether or not those wishes are in the opinion of the casa/gal volunteer in the child s best interest this curriculum uses the terms indian child and indian custodian in accordance with the legal definitions set out in the indian child welfare act v1-8 introducing the casa/gal volunteer role


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what is minimum sufficient level of care msl activity 1g understanding msl read the following summary describing minimum sufficient level of care the bottom-line standard for a child to remain in his/her home in your small groups answer the following questions · · what other issues should be considered in determining if a parent can provide a minimum sufficient level of care how do you think the msl standard benefits children why the msl standard is used · it maintains the child s right to safety and permanence while not ignoring the parents right to their children it is required by law as a practical way to interpret the reasonable efforts provision of the adoption assistance and child welfare act it is possible for parents to reach it provides a reference point for decision makers it protects to some degree from individual biases and value judgments it discourages unnecessary removal from the family home it discourages unnecessarily long placements in foster care it keeps decision makers focused on what is the least detrimental alternative for the child it is sensitive across cultures chapter 1 1 unit · unit 2 in the large group the facilitator will ask to hear some of your responses · removing a child from his/her home because of abuse and/or neglect is a drastic remedy because removal is so traumatic for the child both the law and good practice require that agencies keep the child in the home when it is possible to do so and still keep the child safe children should be removed only when parents cannot meet the minimum sufficient level of care this standard describes what must be in place for the child to remain in his/her home the same standard is also used to determine whether or not parents have made sufficient progress so that a child can be safely returned to the family home the minimum sufficient level of care is determined by a number of factors each of which must be looked at specifically in relation to the case at hand factors to consider include · unit 3 unit 4 · · · the child s needs is the parent providing for the following needs at a basic level we ll address children s needs in more depth in chapter 6 · · · physical food clothing shelter medical care safety protection emotional attachment between parent and child developmental education special help for children with disabilities · · social standards is the parent s behavior within or outside commonly accepted child-rearing practices in our society here are some examples in terms of discipline whipping a child with a belt was generally thought to be appropriate during the first half of the twentieth century but is now widely considered abusive contemporary families frequently use a short time out as a punishment for young children in terms of school attendance it is a widely held expectation that parents send all children to school or homeschool them until they reach the age limit at which attendance is no longer compulsory social standards also apply in medical care where immunizations and regular medical/dental care are the standard national casa volunteer manual v1-9



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