The Illinois Association of Court Appointed Special Advocates believes strongly in the continuing education of both program staff and volunteers. Illinois CASA strives to deliver a monthly ongoing training program that helps to build and maintain a strong and consistent staff and volunteer base.
Beginning July 2019 Illinois CASA will host a monthly Director's Best Practice Series as well as a Trauma Webinar Series for CASA volunteers and staff. Topics such as SASS (Screening Assessment and Support Services), ACRs (Administrative Case Reviews), Diversity and Inclusion and the Volunteer, a Writing Workshop and understanding the Memorandum of Understanding are on the schedule through December 2019.
Upon completion of any of the in-service training opportunities on the CASA website, document your experience by completing the Illinois CASA In-Service Training Completion Form. You will automatically receive a copy of your responses, which you should then forward to your Local Program for its in-service training records. You should complete the form each time you complete a training opportunity.
We urge the local CASA program staff and volunteers to examine our Training Catalog and sign up early. Any questions or comments regarding the training can be directed to Kristen Bertrand, Director of Training, email@example.com.
Best Practices for Interviewing Court-Involved Children During the Covid-19 Pandemic
The current state-wide stay-at-home order has limited the Illinois child welfare system’s regular practice of in-person contact with court-involved children to ensure their safety and well-being. Yet this population may be even more vulnerable and in need of monitoring during this public health crisis. This webinar will provide guidance on talking to court-involved children – who already have histories of prior trauma – during this time of increased stress and isolation. The discussion will focus on important topics of questioning as well as guidelines for observing behavior when using available technology, with the aim of eliciting information to continue to protect court-involved children during this unprecedented time. This webinar will be presented by Alison Stankus.
Alison has served as an attorney and guardian ad litem in the Juvenile Division of the Office of the Cook County Public Guardian since 2009. In addition to direct client representation, she coordinates the division’s training programs for law student interns, attorneys, and other professional staff. She trains and presents on topics including child interviewing, trial skills, and secondary trauma. Alison received both her Juris Doctorate, with a Certificate in Child and Family Law, and Masters in Social Work through the dual-degree program at Loyola University Chicago.
Mindset Coaching for the CASA Volunteer Advocate
CASA Volunteers find themselves enmeshed in the child welfare system by choice. These brave and caring individuals are determined to ensure the children they are privileged to stand up for have their voice heard and best interests represented. This advocacy work can be challenging under normal circumstances. Now add in the complexities of current times, and the not only does the challenge become greater, the work becomes even more important. Learning how to self-coach through the intricacies of today is the fastest way to go from frustrated and sad to accepting what is, and even your next case.
Presented by Lisa Drake, the Executive Director of CASA of DuPage County for the past 10 years. She is also a Life and Level 2 Nutrition Coach. She has extensive experience managing volunteers and believes mindset coaching is the key to helping staff and volunteers care for themselves while doing this critical, yet often mentally and emotionally painful work.
Domestic Violence and Youth in Care
Aiden Ethington, M.A., ICDVP, is a Clinical Domestic Violence Specialist serving the Central Region of Illinois for the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services. He is an Illinois Certified Domestic Violence Professional with experience in various positions within the domestic violence field, including community education, legal advocacy, and emergency shelter. Prior to working in the domestic violence field, Aiden provided information and education about the LGBTQ+ community to colleges and service providers throughout the state of Illinois.