Well, we are full-on into the festive season now! Hope that you all had a lovely Thanksgiving and are looking forward to Christmas.
The festive season can be a particularly difficult time for children who have been removed from their homes, so please consider this when communicating with the children you serve this month. We have a room full of toys and some new donations of items – please let me know if you want to come into the office anytime to pick up some Christmas gifts for your children and we can coordinate over the next few weeks.
More information will follow in due course but I wanted to let you all know that CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County will be having our Texas CASA quality assurance review (audit) in May 2021. Please remember to continue documenting all of your contacts on Optima, including those attempted contacts but unsuccessful.
Each month, you should have at least the following documented contacts in Optima: Contact with Children – (in person or visual virtual calls such as Facetime or Zoom), Placement/ caregiver, CASA Supervisor, CPS Caseworker, and AAL. My recommendation is that you conduct a visit with the child and then send an email to the CPS caseworker and AAL, copied to myself with a record of your observations. If the child(ren) is placed more than an hour away from your home, in-person visits are required quarterly and in the months where you don’t visit in person, please conduct virtual visits (where you can still see the children – eg, Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp call, Messenger call, Facetime).
Quarterly educational and medical contacts are required, so I recommend you follow up with the child’s daycare placement or school in December or January. We are also now requesting monthly contacts with parents (for those we have permission to speak to and whose parental rights have not been terminated). If you don’t have permission to speak to the parents yet, please reach out to their attorney each month to check on progress towards services and to ask for permission to speak; if you have any questions on this, please reach out to me.
Finally, hopefully, you are all aware that we have purchased a building and have moved to our new permanent location at 505 N. Main Street, Conroe, TX, 77301. We’re holding an open house for Advocates on Friday, December 10th, but the office is open now and you are all welcome to pop in at any time – come along and say hello!
Season’s greetings to you all – and thank you each once again for your part in making 2021 a year where the children we serve are now safer than they were before we were appointed to serve them. I am grateful for each and every one of you.