Stay tuned for more to come!
Sex and Gender Minority Families for CASA:
Event Description: Sex and gender diversity have always been a feature of human societies, but with the advent of internet communications these diverse populations have grown dramatically. People who work with at risk youth must be educated in the wide range of diverse sex and gender expressions in order to provide inclusive and appropriate services. In this presentation Dr. Elisabeth “Eli” Sheff explains sex and gender minorities (SGM) and define some of the most common SGM identities in both parents and youth. Then the presenter explores some of the issues facing SGM youth, parents, and families involved in the child welfare system. Finally, Dr. Eli explores some ways CASA volunteers can advocate for queer youth in the system and shares resources for those youth and their caregivers.
Dr. Elisabeth “Eli” Sheff (she/her) is a researcher, expert witness, coach, speaker, and educational consultant. With a PhD in Sociology and certification as a Sexuality Educator from AASECT, Dr. Eli specializes in gender and sexual minority families, consensual non-monogamy, and kink/BDSM. Sheff is the foremost academic expert on polyamorous families with children, and her 25+ year Polyamorous Family Study is the only longitudinal study of poly families with children to date.
Currently lecturing at the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga, Dr. Eli has also taught at the University of Colorado, University of Montana, Georgia State University, Oglethorpe, Emory, and the University of Zurich. Sheff co-chairs the Consensual NonMonogamies Legal Issues Team for the American Psychological Association, Division 44. Dr. Eli is also editing a series of books on diverse sexualities, genders, and relationships with Dr. Richard Sprott and the publishers Rowman & Littlefield. In collaboration with three colleagues, Dr. Eli developed The Bonding Project, a test people can take to explore their preferred bonding styles. https://www.bondingproject.com/
In addition to the more than 20 peer-reviewed journal articles and chapters Dr. Eli has written, she has also published four books and is working on more.
Click these links to view: Training Recording and Presentation Materials
Policy Lunch & Learn:
Colorado CASA lobbyist, Amy Pitlik, provided a preview of the 2022 legislative session and shared the many opportunities for staff and volunteers to engage. Preparation for the 2022 legislative session is underway, and CASA in Colorado has several legislative priorities. This session is an opportunity to get acquainted with our state-level policy work, and may lead to additional trainings around getting involved in our work at the state capitol. Click these links to view: Training Recording and CO CASA Policy Lunch & Learn Presentation.pdf
Our expert: Amy Pitlik has 15 years of campaign and government relations experience in Colorado. After working her first ballot initiative campaign in 2006, Amy was hired by then Mendez, Steadman, and Associates to support the firm during the 2007 and 2008 legislative session. In 2008, she moved in-house at Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains where she served in a multi-state policy, political, and government relations role spanning 5 legislative sessions and multiple ballot initiative campaigns. She increased her healthcare experience while working in-house for InnovAge before moving into K-12 policy advocacy at Stand for Children in 2015. She has served in leadership roles for statewide ballot initiatives to increase K-12 funding and led organizational political work. She is expert in the division of 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) functions and skilled at navigating complex coalitions to achieve policy outcomes. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Women’s Studies from Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa.
Connect Our Kids Lunch & Learn:
A family search & engagement centered lunch and learn facilitated by Dr. Jennifer Jacobs and Jessica Stern. Jessica will offer a Connect Our Kids update, share how and why their organization builds technology tools to help child welfare professionals, and highlight the free resources Connect Our Kids offers. Click this link to view: Training Recording
Juvenile Justice for CASA Volunteers:
A juvenile justice centered lunch and learn facilitated by Laura Arentsen, Program Director at Boulder Voices for Children. Laura discussed the Colorado juvenile justice system, BVFC's Juvenile Justice Reform Project, crossover case advocacy, and provided examples of how CASAs are supporting youth going through juvenile delinquency court. This training recording is no longer available, reach out to ColoradoCASA@ColoradoCASA.org if you would like more information.
Human Trafficking of youth in Colorado:
The Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking partnered with Colorado CASA for an important training on how human trafficking is impacting our state and region. Attendees learned how the experiences in the child welfare system may intersect with the trafficking experience and how service providers like CASA volunteers can be involved in the response. This training was not recorded, reach out to ColoradoCASA@ColoradoCASA.org if you would like more information.
Infant Mental Health:
In partnership with Mental Health Center of Denver, this training provided an overview of infant and early childhood mental health, the importance of relationships during the first five years, the impacts of trauma on development and the role of a CASA as an advocate for infant and early childhood mental health. This training was not recorded in accordance with grant guidelines. Click this link to view: Presenter Bios.
Resource links mentioned in the training:
Elevate your Educational Advocacy:
Children who are involved in the child welfare system often need more support than their peers to succeed in and complete school. Our October Wellbeing Assessment data showed a higher percentage of children in virtual and hybrid learning environments with unmet needs in academics, work completion and attendance, and more CASA volunteers unsure about their children's educational needs than prior assessment periods. In response, we've gathered a knowledgeable and inspiring panel of experts to share information so we collectively step-up our educational advocacy game for children. In the United States, every child has the right to an appropriate education and as CASA volunteers we are here to help ensure that happens. Click this link to view: Panelist Bios Click this link to view: Training Recording
Winter Ideas to Support Children:
CASA service has looked different during COVID-19. We have been inspired by all the ways CASA volunteers and staff have adapted to changing policies and procedures and continued to creatively connect and advocate for their assigned children. As the days get darker and colder, we gather to shed light and share inspiration from our collective experiences. The session included a panel discussion, input from attendees and Q&A. Click this link to view: Panelist Bios. Click this link to view: Training Recording
Mindset Coaching for the CASA 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. But what happens when the case takes longer than necessary? Or when it seems like caseworkers, the judge and everyone else doesn't have the same sense of urgency as you? What happens when a case closes and the outcome is not what you hoped? In this webinar, learn what self-coaching is and how using it can get you from frustrated and sad to accepting 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. Click this link to view: Training Recording
Spring CASA Volunteer Advocacy Panel:
A panel discussion that included six CASA volunteers who are exemplars of dedication and creativity during COVID-19. An opportunity to hear ideas for engaging with children virtually, ask questions and connect with CASA volunteers and staff around the state. Click this link to view: Panelist Bios. Click this link to view: Training Recording