Questions & Answers

The lines between being a CASA volunteer and a counselor or being a CASA and a mentor are fuzzy. How do you make sure you’re fulfilling your responsibilities without crossing the line?
Answer: A CASA volunteer becomes a concerned and caring adult in a child’s life so it’s important to be aware of the level of conversation which is taking place. If a dialogue moves beyond the level of natural conversation, and into the realm of what would be considered a counseling issue, the CASA needs to share with the child that there are other people or professionals who can help with processing those issues. Remember that the relationship between a CASA volunteer and the child he/she is working with is not always clearly defined, there is a lot of gray area. It is sometimes difficult to determine where the boundaries lie, so working with your CASA Coordinator is of the utmost important.
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Questions & Answers

 A lot has been done with children and animals, can a dog visit with a child? Can Question & Answer Guyyou take a child to the humane society to visit dogs and cats?
Answer: Just as you would with a neighbor’s or friend’s child, you would want to check with the case manager before initiating this type of contact, just to be sure there aren’t any issues that you may not be aware of. Once that is done, a CASA volunteer may move forward with this type of activity.

What do CASA volunteers need to report when undocumented status is suspected?
Answer: By the time that a CASA volunteer is assigned to a case, any suspicions of undocumented status will most likely have been identified and investigated by CPS. Please keep in mind that it is not a CASA’s role to focus on issues surrounding undocumented status, but instead to focus on advocating for a CASA child’s best interests and permanence.

Questions & Answers

What gives CASA volunteers the legal right to medical/psychological records, legal Question & Answer Guyrecords, etc.?
Answer: The legal right to information begins with Arizona Revised Statute (ARS) ¶ 8-522, which provides the right to information on the child and the child’s family.A CASA volunteer is appointed to a case by the presiding juvenile court judge. Through a court order, the juvenile court authorizes the CASA volunteer to conduct research on its behalf. The court order states in part:ORDERED all public and private agencies and individuals, without limitation, who possess records and information about any child herein and the extended family of any such child, shall allow this CASA volunteer access to the child and such records and information, including the copying thereof, without consent of the child, parents or extended family thereof.

The court order is a powerful tool for the CASA. As such, it should be used with discretion. While it is important to have on hand if someone the CASA is interviewing is not willing to share information, or does not understand where the CASA volunteer’s authority to have the information comes from, CASA volunteers should be judicious in their use of that authority.

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Questions & Answers

 What happens when the CASA volunteer doesn’t agree with CPS? Does CPS have priority in the case plan?
Answer: A CASA volunteer must always make the case manager and other team members aware of what his or her opinion is even if it is not in agreement with the team. Remember, the judge wants to know all opinions, and it is to the judge that the CASA recommends what they think should happen. So, disagreeing with the case manager is okay; however it may be frustrating for the CASA to see the case go in a direction that the CASA does not agree with, until a hearing takes place and the judge decides on a course of action. Then, both parties must comply with what the judge has ordered.
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Questions & Answers

What type of identification do we have and when do we need to show it?Question & Answer Guy

Answer: The photo that was taken when you arrived at Advocacy Academy will be used to create your CASA volunteer identification badge. You will receive your badge when you have completed your pre-service training and are appointed to a case. If working on a case, a CASA volunteer should always carry their name badge in the event it is needed for identification and verification to access information. The badge should always be worn when coming to the court building. There are many situations however, where wearing the badge might threaten confidentiality (i.e., at a child’s school, when on a visit with the child, etc.) and it is better not to have it in plain sight. We highly recommend that you carry both your CASA ID badge and copies of your court order with you when you are on CASA business.

 

For more frequently asked questions and answers click on the link to your right entitled “More CASA Q & A”

 

Questions & Answers

Are siblings typically separated from each other when placed in foster care?Question & Answer Guy
Answer: There are many factors that may prevent siblings from being placed together, but CPS makes every effort to keep siblings together and find foster placements that can take in a sibling group. For large sibling groups, chances are that they will be separated due to the lack of available space in a single home.

Questions & Answers

 What are the office hours for CPS?Question & Answer Guy
Answer: Although Child Protective Services (CPS) usually maintains standard business hours – i.e. 8am – 5 pm, Monday through Friday, the actual days and times may vary by county and staff size. Be sure to talk with your coordinator about the office hours for the CPS offices in your county.

What are the things that might delay the growth of the cortex in terms of decision-making, impulse control, etc.?
Answer: (Answered by Skip Pollock, Children and Trauma speaker)

Two reminders: (1) there is a “general” timetable of growth – for all aspects of growth, from physical to intellectual – but that is just a general, average list – like an average height for age list. I dislike those lists because it is easy to forget that it’s an average and consider someone “deficient” for something – when they are just fine and moving along at their own pace. (I do speak, of course, of a somewhat short person.) Second reminder: (2) it is difficult to tell right now if there is actual cortical development delay – actual hard-wiring, or if more primitive, emotional behavior is “over-riding” the cortex. So, it is very difficult to define (or decide) if an individual’s cortex is not quite developed.

An old but still accurate analogy to think about is muscles: some people have more defined and developed muscles – usually that is through the exercise of those muscles. But even those people who have not developed their muscles in a health club, do have muscles that function. What would “count” as normal for an arm muscle?

Given all of those qualifications above, some of the factors which would inhibit cortical development are: disease; ongoing stress; ongoing stress accompanied by acute stress (which would be the case for abused children); poor nutrition; physical trauma (i.e., head injury).