The Advocate Advisor
CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County
Mar./Apr. 2017

CASA Volunteer Appreciation Celebration
Saturday, April 29, 2017
6:00 - 8:00 pm
St. Simon & Jude Catholic Church
Details to follow.

Program Notes
By Pat Creighton 
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From September through December of 2016: 
  • We received 87 new cases (64% higher than last year) and 140 new children (73% higher than last year). 
  • We swore in 30 new Advocates.
For CASA Program Year 2016: 
  • 209 volunteers served 482 children.
  • 97% of all of our cases are being served by a volunteer.  
  • 29% of our children were reunited with family; 23% were placed with a relative or fictive kin; 25% were adopted; and 17% were provided with family services or transferred to another county. 
  • Only 6% of our children aged out which represents a 62% decrease from the previous year.
This is a significant change and is the result of your efforts in seeking permanency for this vulnerable age group. As we work to find more resources and tools to provide better outcomes, these numbers should continue to improve.
We are fortunate to be part of the state-funded Collaborative Family Engagement (CFE) program as well as a PMC Pilot program. We are also fortunate to have a dedicated Board and some extraordinary staff.
But none of this would be possible without one vital component…YOU!!  It is your passion and commitment to our children that is the heart of our organization and the key to our success. You make the difference, and for this I am most grateful.
Mother Teresa said, "We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love." This is your love at work! Thank you.
Pat Creighton
Program Director

Travel Reimbursement Opportunity for Advocates
By Pat Creighton & Susan McCormick
Thanks to a new VOCA grant, and only available until the funds are depleted, Advocates may apply for mileage reimbursement on LONG DISTANCE TRIPS to visit their CASA children. Long distance is defined as >100 miles round trip (50+ miles each direction).
The purpose of this new grant is to help local CASA programs assist their volunteers with the mileage cost for long distance travel to visit their CASA children. Here are the requirements: 
  1. The reimbursement must only be for an assigned CASA volunteer Advocate for mileage costs incurred to a visit to their CASA child(ren).
  2. Travel reimbursement requests must be submitted on the "Volunteer Mileage Reimbursement Form" by the 10th of each month for the month prior. The form is attached at the very bottom of this email and is also available on our website in the Advocate Center under "Forms" (see HERE).
  3. Travel must be at least 50 miles, one way (100 miles round trip) from the home of the volunteer being reimbursed and must include a Google Map (or equivalent) documenting the point to point mileage being claimed. If you choose to fly to make the visit, then the least expensive option can be submitted for reimbursement.
  4. The visit may include up to two nights' lodging, if necessary. Lodging is limited to the approved state lodging rate for the city in which the Advocate is staying. The state lodging rate can be found online HERE. A copy of the lodging receipt must be submitted with the travel request.
  5. You must submit your mileage reimbursement form and documentation along with your monthly Time & Mileage log to your case supervisor by the 10th of each month.
To reiterate, you will be responsible for completing the Reimbursement Form as well as providing a Google Map or equivalent that documents the point to point mileage claimed. It should be submitted to your Supervisor for calculation and reimbursement.
These grant funds cannot be used for any program or purpose OTHER THAN Advocate mileage reimbursement, and the reimbursement is only available until the funds run out.
We hope this will assist you in meeting the needs of your children who reside outside of the county. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Pat

By Kim Ayres
Q: What cases might be good for a case review with the education committee right now?
A: Secondary students who were unsuccessful in their first semester*
  • * Any age student whose story is that the school was gathering data (through RTI) to see if testing would be recommended this spring,
  • * PMC students who don’t have a set educational  or vocational track post graduation,
  • * Students getting ready to transition to a new educational setting next year (i.e. elementary to junior high),
  • * Students in jeopardy of failing STARR or EOC (End of Course) tests
Q: What’s the difference between special education (IDEA) and House Bill 504?
A: Although they have the same “look” in terms of options for educational assessment, placement and programming, they are really very different by design. Take a look at this chart for a side by side comparison and contrast.
Q: What is ECI?
A: Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) Services**: 
ECI is a statewide program for families with children ages 0-3 who have developmental delays and/or disabilities. ECI provides evaluations and assessments, at no cost to families, in order to determine eligibility and the need for services.
Services ECI Provides:
ECI supports families by helping their children reach their potential through developmental services that include:
  • Individualized Planning Process: An interdisciplinary team, including the family, develops an individualized family service plan (IFSP) and the location for services is chosen by the family.
  • Family Centered Services: ECI professionals and family members incorporate activities into the child and family’s daily activities to promote the child’s development.
  • Case Management: Service coordinators help families access and receive the services and resources they need to support their child’s development.
  • Familiar Settings: Though most ECI services are provided at home, they can be provided in other places the child regularly visits such as a daycare, park, or library.
  • Professional providers: The team that evaluates the child and plans services includes early intervention specialists, speech and language pathologists, physical and occupational therapists, psychologists, registered nurses, dietitians, social workers, and counselors.
**Source – CASA of San Antonio

Monthly Education Committee Meetings:
Monthly education committee meetings are held the 4th Wednesday of each month from 2-4 pm at the CASA office. Advocates are encouraged to contact your supervisor and/or Kim Ayres with immediate needs. 
Please consider utilizing this resource of veteran educators if you have questions or concerns about your CASA child’s education. No question is too big or too small. We are here for you!

IMPORTANT! Annual Advocate Recruitment Campaign is Coming Up
By Judi Foster
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April is Child Abuse Awareness Month and CASA’s Annual Recruitment Campaign!
For the second year, our CASA Volunteer Recruitment Campaign will be held in April, which is Child Abuse Awareness Month. Every week you will receive emails with suggestions for what you can do to help spread the word about CASA Child Advocates.
The campaign is designed to encourage all of you, our fantastic Advocates, to invite others to an Information Reception, which will be held on Tuesday, May 2nd at The Grotto (Market Street) from 6:00-8:00 pm.  At the event, there will be a formal presentation about CASA and current volunteers will share their stories about the impact they have had on a child’s life and how others can do the same. Afterwards, we hold a casual Q&A session. There will also be hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar.
Thank you in advance for your help with and participation in this year's campaign!
Judi Foster
Recruitment Director
CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County
2017 General Campaign Overview
(weekly emails will begin arriving in April!)
April 2 - April 8
WEEK ONE: Event flyer Distribution
Distribute the Information Reception flyer around town...
April 9 - April 15
WEEK TWO: Community Awareness
Help us spread the word about CASA Child Advocates throughout the community...
April 16 - April 22
WEEK THREE: Social Media
Follow us, share our updates and event information, or update your status about how you feel you have made a difference as a CASA Advocate.
April 23 - May 2
WEEK FOUR: Word of Mouth
This week, talk about CASA and personally invite people to the Information Reception. 
For more information, please contact Judi Foster:

The CASA Toy Room and Book Store are RESOURCES for You!
By Vicki Bradley
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A lot of time and effort has gone into reorganizing both the CASA Toy Room as well as the Book Store in our office. Have you visited the toy room in a while? Here's a sneak peek!
These are resources for YOU, our Advocates! Please stop by, take a look, and pick out a book or toy (or both!) for your CASA child.
We do currently have a need for gift cards for our teens who have outgrown many of these toys. Also costume jewelry for teen girls (perhaps you have some items at home?) If you would like to make a donation, please see Pat.
Upcoming Events
MARCH 2017
New Advocate Swearing-In, 9:00 am
Conversations with CASA (evening event) at The Refuge Bar & Bistro, 5:00-7:00 pm
Advocate In-Service: Collaborative Family Engagement Training, presented by Anna McDonnell & Candice Dozman, 6:00-8:00 pm at TETRA
10 MonthlyTime & Mileage Log due to Case Supervisors (plus mileage reimbursement request and supporting documentation, if applicable)
15 Conversations with CASA (morning event) at La Madeleine Country French Café, 9:00-11:00 am
22 CASA Education Committee Meeting at the CASA office, 2:00-4:00 pm
23 CASA Volunter Council Advocate Support Gathering: "Let's Go to Court" (Location TBA), 9:30-11:30 am
27 New Advocate Training Class Begins (Mondays & Wednesdays)
APRIL 2017
10 New Advocate Swearing In, 9:00 am
10 MonthlyTime & Mileage Log due to Case Supervisors (plus mileage reimbursement request and supporting documentation, if applicable)
12 Conversations with CASA (evening event) at The Refuge Bar & Bistro 5:00-7:00 pm
19 Conversations with CASA (morning event) at La Madeleine Country French Café, 9:00-11:00 am
26 CASA Education Committee Meeting at the CASA office, 2:00-4:00pm
27 3rd Annual Concert for Hope Community Child Abuse Awareness Event at Market Street, 5:30 pm
28-29 Empowered to Connect Conference hosted by Love Fosters Hope together with Show Hope and The Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development at TCU, 9:00-5:00 pm both days at Church Project (REGISTER HERE)
29 CASA Annual Volunteer Appreciation Celebration at St. Simon & Jude Catholic Church, 6:00-8:00 pm
29 New Advocate Training Class Begins (Nights & Weekends)
MAY 2017
2 Annual Advocate Recruitment Campaign: CASA Information Reception at The Grotto, 6:00-8:00 pm
The Volunteer Council Corner
By Susan Olver
The CASA Volunteer Council is planning an Advocate Support Gathering on March 23 at 9:30 am. The topic will be ‘Let’s Go To Court’ with tips on testifying. Watch for an email for more information and to sign up. This is a great time to meet with other Advocates!
Please note, these support gatherings are only meant for the Advocate to have a safe, confidential place to discuss their case. Advocates do not give advice on how to proceed on a specific issue/case. All Advocates should be working very closely with their supervisor for direction. 
You will receive two hours of continuing education credit for your attendance.
Questions? Please email Susan Olver at

Friday & Saturday, April 28th & 29th
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Love Fosters Hope hosts the Empowered To Connect Conference, together with Show Hope and The Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development at TCU — a two-day conference designed to help adoptive and foster parents, ministry leaders and professionals better understand how to connect with “children from hard places” in order to help them heal and become all that God desires for them to be.
The conference features David Cross, Mandy Howard, Daren Jones, Dan and Terri Coley, Ryan and Kayla North, Casey Call, and Cindy Lee and is ideal for adoptive and foster parents, those considering adoption or foster care and those who are serving and supporting others, including social workers, agency professionals, church staff and ministry leaders, counselors, therapists and others.
You may download the conference workbook for free to your tablet, laptop, or phone.
It is not mandatory to have the workbook but recommended to have a digital or hard copy with you.
Your CASA Team!
Executive Director
Program Director
Judi Foster – Director of Recruiting
Doris LaStrappe – Administrative Assistant
Susan McCormick – Database Administrator
Wanda Smith – Training Director
Alli Stephens – Marketing and Communications Director
Celebrating Advocate Anniversaries
By Pat Creighton
3 Years
Kari Pesch
Elizabeth Chapman
Carol Brooks
Ines Perez
2 Years
John Palilla
Christine Colomban
Colette Krieps
Sandra Powers
Susan McCormick
1 Year
Jennifer Orr
10 Years
Sherry Mayhill
Terry Mayhill
9 Years
Laurie Schoepf
4 Years
Pat Evans
Bob Evans
3 Years
Janet Wert
Pam Miller
2 Years
Sally Cline
1 Year
Ronald Kloster
Timothy Lee
Yamini Datta
Matthew Sanders
Taylor Hamm
Samina Mahesri
Rhonda Clauss
Kashonna McHenry
Jennifer Engel
Kimberly Taylor
Margaret Hollinger

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Address postal inquiries to:
CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County
412 West Phillips Ste. 107
Conroe, TX 77301