January 2014 Newsletter

Hello / Goodbye for Advocate Managers


We have a new advocate manager in the office! Ron Besser is taking over for many cases, mostly in Lake and Clear Creek counties.

Ron moved to Breckenridge with his wife and two-year-old son about three months ago from Denver, where he received his Master of Divinity degree from Denver Seminary.

Ron’s heart for youth and especially neglected youth led him to apply for this position. He has worked with youth his entire adult life including work in residential homes, at-risk youth camps and youth ministry. Through his connections with foster families, children in programs and friends who have adopted, he has seen how important the CASA volunteer can be in the lives of kids. He is excited to be able to support the people who can make such an amazing impact on the lives of children who aren’t able to speak for themselves all the time.

When he is not working, you might see Ron skiing (he is a ski instructor at Breck), biking, playing hockey or backpacking … but most likely, he will be goofing off in the snow with his son.

As many of you also know, Hannah will be leaving CASACD to take care of her new son. We wish her all the best!

CASA Volunteer Independent Study Training Begins January 25th!

As we all know, being a CASA volunteer is a tough gig, requiring time, commitment, strict background checks, emotional stress, and much more. This makes CASA volunteer recruitment and retention a challenge. As such, one of our best ways to recruit is through word of mouth by our CASA volunteers.

An informational meeting will be held at the Avon library on Thursday, Jan. 9, at 6 p.m., and the winter CASA volunteer independent-study training will begin Jan. 25.

If you know of someone who would make a great CASA volunteer, encourage them to call the CASACD office, attend the informational meeting, or apply through our website.

CASA Statistics for 2013

In 2013, CASACD:
* had 52 cases, 91 children served: 23 new cases serving 39 children
* closed 44% cases under 12 months and 92% closed under 18 months
* closed 38 cases; average length in court was 17 months
* had 49 active volunteers; swore in 18 new volunteers

Colorado DHS Search Results

Colorado Department of Human Services research to plan a 2015 public-awareness campaign indicates:
* More than half of Coloradoans (51%) say they have personally encountered a child that they suspected was a victim of abuse or neglect.
* Perception is very different from reality. During SFY12-13, it is estimated that 75% of reports came from mandatory reporters, 15% came from family members, and only 10% came from the general public.
* Only half of Coloradoans (51%) can name a proper next step (call child protection services, county hotline, police, or 911) in circumstances where they have encountered suspected abuse or neglect and know the suspected abuser.
* Less than two-thirds of mandatory reporters surveyed (65%) named a proper step when they knew the suspected abuser well, rising to just 70% when they did not know the abuser.
* More than 30% of mandatory reporters surveyed do not know the proper steps to report child abuse or neglect.
* The biggest perceived barrier to reporting child abuse and neglect: “I don’t know enough about the situation and worry that I might be wrong” (65% said this lack of complete information would make them less likely to report).

For more information about this campaign, go to colorado.gov/cdhs.

Optima Update – Court Reports are Here!

As you have seen in several reminders, please have contact logs and training hours up to date in Optima by January 7!

Also, starting this month, court reports will be written using Optima! For detailed information on using Optima to write court reports, see the CASACD website, which has an Optima procedures webpage: https://mtncasa.org/optima.

One additional Optima oddity: because attorneys in our district often play multiple roles, attorneys will continue to be listed under the Associated Parties tab, but they will be listed as “interested Parties,” so that we can choose not only the lawyer but their role: GAL, respondent parent attorney, or county attorney. Therefore, we have released lawyers listed as “Attorneys” and re-added them to the case as “Interested Parties,” which means most current cases will have these lawyers listed twice. Just use the one listed as an “Interested Party,” and in the future, add them as an “Interested Party.”

Volunteer Supervision

Dillon: Meetings held at the CASA office; room 101: Wednesday January 22 from 5pm-7pm
Avon: Meetings will be held at the Avon Library: Wednesday January 8 from 10am-12pm and Wednesday January 15 from 5-7pm

For this first month, by appointment.

If you need access to commonly used CASA forms or templates, use our public file for CASA

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