Guest Blog: Richland County CASA

Remember a few weeks back, January 13th to be precise, I posted about Richland County CASA“This is how RCCASA does it!”? Well, I’m excited to host their guest post:

Since our training presentation for the South Carolina Bar Foundation in 2008, RCCASA has continued its aggressive efforts in male recruitment. This presentation was the first of many.

RCCASA was nationally recognized for its success in the implementation of a “best practice” recruitment model and trained CASA programs across the United States that included Washington, Texas, Hawaii, Washington, D.C., Florida and this year RCCASA will be presenting at the National CASA conference in 2010.

We held our own National Conference in Columbia, SC and individuals from Ohio, Florida, Colorado, and Texas visited our sunny state to learn how to recruit male volunteers Although our program has celebrated successes, we find that it is an on-going effort and we continue to be faced with challenges.

As we serve more children, more male volunteers are needed.

Our program felt the impact of the economic crisis. Funding was an issue but more importantly our volunteers were greatly impacted. Many volunteers were faced with relocation and others were faced with decreasing the amount of time they could spend volunteering. Our most committed, dedicated volunteers were taking on second jobs, reentering the workforce, and volunteers who were once retired were now employed.

Beginning July 1, 2010, RCCASA will need to be able to serve 100% of the children.

We are rising to the challenge and will be increasing our recruitment efforts. We are proud of the job our volunteers have done and know that our ability to serve 100% of the children will mean these children will have a strong advocate.

So in a nutshell what does this really mean……It means that more than ever we NEED YOUR assistance in making this happen.  You may not be able to volunteer but you may have a spouse, co-worker, brother, friend, or colleague. Out biggest recruitment tool has been through word of mouth and when you tell someone about CASA, you are making a difference in the lives of the abused and neglected children in our community.

This is how RCCASA does it!

In early 2008, I was fortunate to attend the South Carolina Bar Foundation‘s Grantee Gathering. One of the special features was Richland County CASA‘s Quarterback Training seen in this video.

Why is this video so important?

Because it highlights a specific recruiting effort by Richland County CASA (RCCASA) for male volunteers. About 9 minutes into the video we learn why this is so important – because 60% of the children served by CASA are male whereas a few years back most volunteers were female.

The children served by RCCASA are children who are involved in the Family Court system and are the subjects of abuse or neglect investigations. It is fairly frequent that the only stable person in these childrens’ lives is the CASA representative, the Guardian ad Litem (GAL).

RCCASA recognized that these children needed volunteers who would also be able to serve as a role model. They saw the need and modified their recruitment plan to fulfill the need.

If you are interested in volunteering or learning more about RCCASA, click here.

-RFW

Job Opportunity: MAINE

Help Wanted

WANTED: Executive Director for the MAINE Indigent Legal Services Commission

Recently Maine established the Maine Commission on Indigent Legal Services.

This independent commission was created for the purpose of providing efficient, high-quality, constitutionally and legally required representation to indigent criminal defendants, juvenile defendants, individuals facing involuntary commitment and children and parents in child protective cases.  The Commission seeks its first Executive Director, who will work with the Commission to establish, oversee and administer an indigent legal services delivery system, which is at the present time administered by Maine’s Judicial Branch.  As of July 1, 2010, the Commission will assume responsibility for an approximately $11,000,000 budget appropriated for the delivery of constitutionally-required indigent legal services.

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Congratulations Maine!

-RFW

HHS Announces LIHEAP Emergency Contingency Fund Allocations

On September 17, 2008, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the release of $121 million in energy assistance via its Emergency Contingency Fund to help eligible low-income households meet home energy costs via its Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

LIHEAP assists with home heating and cooling costs to ensure the safety of individuals most in need, including children, the elderly and the people with disabilities.

Of the $121 million from the Emergency Contingency Fund, South Carolina will receive $652,643.

 Eligibility: SC families receiving LIHEAP assistance have incomes below 150 percent of the federal poverty level. To learn more about LIHEAP in SC, see http://www.liheap.org/liheap%20fact%20sheet/SC/liheap-SC.pdf.

For information about the program, see http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ocs/liheap/.  For a brochure, click http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ocs/liheap/brochure.html.

For information about the program in South Carolina, visit http://www.oepp.sc.gov/oeo/programs.htm.

-RFW