Advocate Corner

Supporting our intrepid volunteers.

Recent blogs & posts

Check out “Blogs & posts” (The button right under “Optima Login”), for resources, videos, blogs, articles and tons of great information. Time spent on “Blogs & posts” will be recognized for your continuing education requirements. Enjoy!

P.S. Please share anything you think would be valuable to the Advocate community. Thank you!

Ongoing events & resources

Pre-service training

Advocacy Tip #1

Enter  contact notes as soon as possible so they have immediacy!  They will be a more accurate record of what you heard than if you wait and let your mind ‘process’ the information.

Advocacy Tip #2

In your Contact Logs in Optima, always check the box next to the child the contact was about, even if the child was not present for the conversation!

Advocacy Tip #3

The primary source is always your best source of information! For example, if a resource parent mentions how a child is doing at daycare, reach out to the daycare and talk to the teacher or make an appointment to observe the child at daycare; if the resource parent discusses a trip to the pediatrician, contact the pediatrician to get the records; etc.

Advocacy Tip #4

Use the court report as a guide to your monthly contacts.  Think about the people in each section that could provide the best information about the child and communicate with them regularly.

Advocacy Tip #5

Ask questions – be aware of our human tendency to fill in gaps by making assumptions – keep asking questions and get your source to paint the entire picture for you.

Advocacy Tip #6

Remind parties that you are reporting to the court (particularly if folks are slow to get you information).  Sometimes that is a powerful reminder!

Advocacy Tip #7

Maximize your court efficacy by ensuring:  

  • you are clearly identified as a participant so the court staff cannot overlook you,
  • you join Zoom early and are prepared to wait (your time slot is just an estimate),
  • and you are prepared to speak-up succinctly and clearly when it is your turn!

Advocacy Tip #8

When communicating with teens you need to be TOTALLY authentic and TOTATLLY present. 

Advocacy Tip #9

The Bergen CASA office can receive and send faxes such as pediatrician or any doctor records. Use us as your FAX!

Advocacy Tip #10

We have lots of toys and games in the Bergen CASA office that can be loaned out and used during a visit, or on a rainy day, or just to have some fun. Stop by and see what’s avaible.