Meet Volunteer Advocate Texanna Turner

Meet Volunteer Advocate Texanna Turner

Jun 28 2017

Texanna Turner knew she would be a special education teacher ever since the second grade. That’s when she first saw reports that public schools would begin enrolling children with developmental disabilities.

As the eleventh of thirteen children in northeast Arkansas, her path to earning her master’s degree and becoming a middle school principal wasn’t easy, but she could always rely on her family’s support. “We were a poor family but we learned how to take care of each other,” she says. “My older siblings took care of us. I knew I could do that for others and that’s always what guided me.” Read More

Seeing the Whole Picture by Working with a Child’s Family

Seeing the Whole Picture by Working with a Child’s Family

Jun 21 2017

“Without understanding where a child comes from, you don’t see the whole picture of that child’s life,” explains Child Advocacy Specialist Diana McCue. To that end, CASA starts every case by working with the people who know best where a child came from, the family. Starting with the Early Family Engagement process, a substantial aspect of CASA’s role is to gather history and information from immediate and extended families of children on a case and to nurture bonds between the family and children. Our primary goal on a case is to reunify families, when it is safe and in the child’s best interest, and that means working with them to identify and meet their needs so that they can safely parent. In the instances that we can reunify, engaging extended family provides a support system during this difficult time and beyond. If reunification is not possible, we turn to the extended family as our first and best option for healthy placement and connection. Read More

Bringing Men to the Table: An interview with SAFE’s Fatherhood Specialist, Jose Olazagasti

Bringing Men to the Table: An interview with SAFE’s Fatherhood Specialist, Jose Olazagasti

Jun 18 2017

“The program gives you a different perspective on the way you’re parenting and the effect of your parenting. We get [fathers] to think about what it looks like when a 3-year-old looks up to a towering, upset father. It’s about being self-reflective.”

Jose Olazagasti, a Fatherhood Specialist at SAFE, says that in presenting these alternative perspectives to men and trying to bring awareness to those moments, they are helping them to understand the way they’re coming across to their kids. Read More

Trapped Between: Managing cases in both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems

Trapped Between: Managing cases in both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems

Jun 14 2017

“What I’ve noticed is I’ll go to Gardner Betts [Juvenile Detention Center] and see kids in front of the judge for juvenile cases and they have a family member standing right by them. The judge thanks the family for being supportive,” explains Alejandro Victoria, Team Leader for CASA’s Teen Advocacy and Permanency Project, the team that sees the most cases also involved with the juvenile justice system. “When you see our kids, they don’t have that. I couldn’t imagine having to go through a scary system like juvenile justice alone.” Currently, 21 of TAPP’s 174 kids are involved in either the adult or juvenile justice system, and more kids on other CASA teams are as well. Read More

Wild Things and Basic Needs

Wild Things and Basic Needs

Jun 08 2017

Where the Wild Things Are was always a favorite book of mine. As a child, I reveled in the idea of creating a world of my own imagination, of sailing across the seas and befriending a cadre of majestic creatures. On re-reading the book recently, though, I see new facets in the ten sentences and fanciful illustrations that make up the book. Working at CASA, I can’t help but see the children we serve in Max as he struggles to gain some semblance of control and to cope with his cacophony of unresolved emotions.

The book starts in a familiar place for children from hard places. Max is acting out, creating mischief of one kind and another. Read More