Although our physical office is closed at this time in compliance with the Stay at Home | Stop the Spread order issued by Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough on March 27, 2020 (extended and in effect through April 30, 2020) our staff is working remotely at this time to support the 300+ volunteers serving 800+ children in foster care.
The work we do at CASA is absolutely an essential service for the kids we serve, however, safety is our primary concern. Fortunately, we are able to work safely and remotely, so we will close the office during this period of time.
In recent weeks, we have been updating and adjusting our practices in an ongoing way in response to Coronavirus (COVID-19) in order to:
- Support our Advocates by providing consistent communications and resources so that they may
- Continue to serve every child in foster care in our county during this time.
In accordance with the Stay at Home | Stop the Spread order, further changes include:
- Advocates will not conduct (usually required) in-person visits with children, caregivers, or other case-related persons. Advocates have been instructed instead to call or video chat to check on the child(ren), to speak to the child if they are old enough and also speak to the caregiver. We are encouraging our Advocates to make the video or phone calls weekly if possible, to make sure our children remain safe and that their needs are being met during this difficult time. Advocates will continue to maintain documentation of these visits for our case records.
- The courts, Child Protective Services and mediation services have updated their procedures as well. Our Advocates and staff will continue to participate in mediations, CPS meetings, and court hearings (if applicable) via virtual methods.
- All CASA staff will be working remotely, and we have informed Advocates to maintain regular communication with their supervisor but they will not be able to meet in-person with their supervisor at the CASA office at this time.
- Advocate continuing education trainings and weekly ‘Conversations with CASA’ informational gatherings have been cancelled through April 12, 2020. We are offering a number of virtual training opportunities and Advocate virtual meetings at this time. We will make decisions regarding our calendar beyond April 12, 2020 as that date approaches.
Ultimately, we want you to know that our work goes on and we continue to change lives for children in foster care. We are taking mandatory steps to keep the children, their caregivers, our volunteers, and our staff as safe as possible while doing so.
If you need assistance during this time, please contact:
- For all Advocate-related issues and questions — Marilyn McQueeney, Program Director: Marilyn@CASASpeaks4Kids.com or 936-441-5437 x204
- If you want more information about about becoming an Advocate — Shellie Tyrrell, Recruiting Manager: Shellie@CASASpeaks4Kids.com or 936-441-5437 x209
- For all other inquiries — Lorna Hutt, Administrative Coordinator: Lorna@CASASpeaks4Kids.com or 936-441-5437 x0. Please leave a message with your name, contact information, and a brief description of your needs, and she will forward your message to the appropriate CASA staff member.