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CAB Connection - June 2021

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4th of July

Volunteer Spotlight - Heather Ice

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Heather Ice, CASA Advocate, yearned to give back to her community and was looking to serve in a role that served a purpose that was greater than herself. She knew the area she resided in had high child neglect/abuse rates and had always had a passion in her heart for helping children, which made being a CASA Advocate a perfect fit for her.

Heather was sworn in as a CASA Advocate approximately 4 ½ years ago by Judge Franklin (February 2017). At the time she was a mother of two small children, had volunteered in different capacities within her community and had completed an internship with DHS during college. Throughout that internship she saw firsthand the difference CASA workers were making in the lives of children and wanted to make that difference too.

When asked about the most rewarding aspect of being an advocate, Heather said it is the knowledge that the work put forth on a case is essential to better outcomes for the children served. “Building relationships with children who sometimes have never had a steady adult in their lives, and gaining the trust of those children, is a feeling that goes unmatched. We live in such an adult-centered world that it is rewarding to know that you may be the sole reason a child’s voice is heard. I find satisfaction in knowing that I am able to help give safety and stability to children in need. Making connections with the children I advocate for has made me more aware of the true need for CASA workers. I still receive updates from children I have advocated for in the past and anticipate those being lifelong relationships.” Depending on the circumstances, a CASA Advocate may remain a constant in a child’s life long after case closure.

Heather believes the most challenging aspect of CASA work (besides not being able to bring each child home) is that it can be very challenging emotionally. She shared, “You encounter situations that break your heart but you have to be unbiased and stay focused on the best outcome for the children. Being an advocate has made me vastly more aware of the struggles that some people face. It has taught me to be more empathetic, compassionate, and nonjudgmental. You truly never know the hills others have had to climb to get to where they are today.”

Heather quoted Josh Shipp “Every child is just one caring adult away from being a success story.”  She said, “A CASA Advocate is a living example of this. By simply being the one constant, the one familiar face, the one person to speak up on the behalf of nothing but the best interest of the child, we have the power to change lives!”

Program Coordinator Carrie Phelps stated, “Heather has been an excellent child advocate. She has had two cases in her four years of advocating; her last case being a high profile, intense case. Heather was able to handle all of the pressures of the demanding case. She was a neutral party that was able to be a conduit of information to DHS. She received praises from the DHS worker and the placement for her dedication and work on the case.” Thank you, Heather, for being such a strong and caring voice for children!


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Welcome to Our New Volunteers!

Jessica Becker, CASA, Linn Co. Dawn Beckley, FCRB, Muscatine Co.
Nicole Blevins, CASA, Linn Co. Stephanie Brown, CASA, Story Co.
Dannielle Knecht-Carlson, CASA, Chickasaw  Beth Carolan, FCRB, Johnson Co.
Amy David, CASA, Dubuque Co. Kristin Glomstad, CASA, Dubuque Co.
Casey Hodson, CASA, Johnson Co. Amy Johnson, CASA, Johnson Co.
Ellen Junk, CASA, Johnson Co. Jessica Leal, FCRB, Clinton Co.
Kris Reints, CASA, Black Hawk Co. Megan Sharp, CASA, Linn Co.
Jennifer Shekleton, CASA, Dubuque Co. Linda Sullivan, CASA, Scott Co.
Heidi Thompson, CASA, Boone Co. Paul Uzel, CASA, Dubuque Co.
Syd Walther, CASA, Johnson Co. Brody White, CASA, Linn Co.

 


Trainer's Corner

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For FCRB Members & CASA Advocates:   The Road to Adulthood for Teens in the Child Welfare System

As Advocates and Board Members we are part of the system making the foster care system better and more supportive of adolescents and emerging adults.

Some key practices include:

  • Training around the importance of understanding trauma and racism.
  • Prioritize permanency for all youth.
  • Understand that foster care carries a level of stigma, affecting successful educational completion and opportunities for employment.
  • Build connections with local housing providers to support safe and adequate housing for youth leaving the foster care system.
  • Understand brain development of transitional age youth and learn how to support the individual in their decision making.

To learn more, review the following resources and videos:

Promoting Safe and Stable Housing for Young People

Building Resilience for Young People in Foster Care

Keeping the Family Conversation Alive-Permanence

Successful Connections to School and Work

The Road to Adulthood: Adolescent Brain Development 

Transition Resources AMP Achieving Maximum Potential Video

Iowa Aftercare Services Network

 Iowa Aftercare Services Video

 ASK Resource Center

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Training Courses

For CASA Advocates:  In-Service Training Credit

Advocates and Coaches interested in learning more about working with older youth, reach out to your Coordinator to attend one of our available trainings that includes Fostering Futures: Supporting Youth Transitioning to Adulthood.   See CASA In-Services for the full list of available trainings.


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