Bergen CASA Advocate 4th Quarter Newsletter
Lucy’s Letter for 4th Quarter 2021
We have reached a long-awaited milestone: we have appointed Advocates to all Bergen County’s foster children who are eligible to be served by CASA! While this is partly due to the reduced number of children removed during the pandemic as well as DCF’s Kinship Placement Initiative, it means that we have Advocates waiting to take cases as soon as they come in. Appointing Advocates to cases almost at their outset has great advantages. The Advocate: is part of the team working the case, shares information about the case as it happens, and becomes more easily acquainted with the children and families involved. As schools open, we will see an uptick in the number of removals and I believe that Bergen CASA is in a good position to meet this increasing need.
In other news, the backpack drive was a major success! We have to thank our wonderful former intern, Dana McDonough, for organizing it as well as the entire, generous congregation of All Saints Episcopal Church in Glen Rock for making donations. Additionally, we are grateful to have received 200 fully stocked backpacks from the Northern NJ Jewish Federation. With the help of DCP&P, we distributed these to children under ‘Care and Supervision’ (who have open cases with Family Court but who are not removed from their homes). Care and Supervision children are from the neediest families in this county.
Bergen CASA is now conducting our annual evaluations. This provides us with valuable feedback to determine additional trainings needed to support you. Your Case Supervisor will set up a meeting with you to go over your evaluation, and at the same time will teach you how to add a few additional items in Optima.
Looking forward, we are moving full speed ahead with our holiday gift drive! We recently emailed you a request form. Please fill it out as soon as possible. Lauren needs time to coordinate your gift requests with many donors. The earlier we get your requests the more likely we will be to fill them!
Check out the rest of this newsletter to see our new visitation protocols, valuable and interesting training opportunities (including Planned Parenthood and Alternatives to Domestic Violence), and a fascinating all-encompassing educational conference opportunity.
I wish you all stay safe and well, and extend my deepest thanks for your caring, generous advocacy,