Bartow County Georgia’s Children need your help. Sign up today to be a CASA volunteer

Bartow’s Children Need Your Help!
CASA Training to Start January 22nd
Article Image
“Helping an abused or neglected child can be one of the most rewarding forms of volunteerism,” according to new Advocates for Children President Rachel Castillo. “Our Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) provide a source of support for children in foster care and are a vital part of the process to move these children to a safe and permanent home.”
Beginning Jan. 22, a series of training sessions will prepare new volunteers to evaluate a child’s situation by talking to anyone who knows the child and reporting recommendations in the best interest of the child to a judge. CASA’s are vital to the outcome of children in the foster care system, according to Castillo.
The number of foster children is growing in our area, so we are looking for people with “strong communication skills, compassion for children and ability to be objective,” she said. Typically, the Division of Family and Children’s Services caseworkers have such an extensive caseload that their time with each child is limited. CASA volunteers can invest time in investigating, interviewing and researching what and who will best serve the children.
“CASA volunteers are the support and the voice for the children we serve,” Castillo explained. Abused or neglected children can have multiple DFCS case managers and even multiple foster family placements.  The one constant and stable presence in their lives is their CASA volunteers. “It’s a priceless relationship.”
The qualifications are simple. In addition to a deep compassion for children, volunteers must be 21 or older and undergo a background check. In addition, a 40-hour training program prepares prospects for a wide array of situations and guides them in managing the process.
Each day, Georgia has an average of 33 confirmed cases of child abuse. That devastating figure is indicative of a broad-spectrum problem that stems from drug and alcohol abuse, anger, a family history of abuse and other issues. CASA volunteers can help children navigate the foster system to find safe, stable and permanent homes.
The training will equip volunteers to help transform the lives of children who need trusted adults. “Becoming a volunteer will definitely change the life of a child,” Castillo said, “but it also changes the life of the volunteer. It’s a wonderful way to enhance your purpose in life.”
For details on the training program, call Ava Lipscomb at 770-386-1060 or email ava@advochild.org.

Thank Congress For Supporting SNAP

On December 12, 2018, Congress crossed the finish line on a final bipartisan Farm Bill, with the House voting in support of the bill 369-47 on the heels of the Senate’s passage, 87-13.  The final bill largely resembles the bipartisan SNAP provisions in the original Senate bill that the United Way network strongly championed throughout 2018. The Farm Bill conference report preserves access to nutritious food for those who need it most by keeping the current SNAP eligibility requirements and work provisions and maintaining state flexibility. It also makes incremental changes that support work by strengthening the SNAP E&T program and its connection to employers and existing workforce infrastructure, and improving program integrity by modernizing verification systems and instituting checks to prevent duplicate receipt of benefits across states. ‘

We celebrate this victory as a bipartisan win that helps children, seniors, people with disabilities, veterans, and working Americans keep food on the table andthank our entire network for your strong advocacy efforts. You came together and fought for SNAP through hundreds of legislative meetings, powerful stories, strategic op-eds, informative digital campaigns, and engagement with hundreds of partners and volunteers.

We also want to thank our legislators for voting in support of SNAP.

How Can We Make Mental Health A Priority in the Workplace – author – Darlene Slaughter

Have you ever known someone who worked non-stop? They’re the office go-getter, always available to support the team and take on extra work. But what do you do when their enthusiasm seems out of balance?

Passion for work is common. Using passion for work to mask a mental health issue is common, too. Even people we think we know well can put on a public face to protect themselves from its associated stigmas. Mental illness is one of those equalizers that doesn’t care who you are.

Today, 1 in 5 people in the workplace have some form of mental illness – from drug and alcohol addiction to depression and bipolar disorder. But we don’t talk about it openly and honestly enough. For managers, it can be difficult to strike a balance between noticing warning signs of someone in need and getting past the trust issues they have about disclosing that need. For some employees, it’s terrifying to disclose their diagnosis because they’re afraid of the potential judgement and repercussions that may follow.

The bar for frank conversations about diversity and inclusion is already difficult to reach. And judgments around race, gender and orientation are exacerbated by mental health stigmas. America’s corporate culture hasn’t done enough to make the 16 percent of Hispanics, 18 percent of African-Americans, 13 percent of Asians and 28 percent of American Indians with mental illness — and the LGBTQ community who are at least twice as likely to be living with it — feel secure in just showing up.

So how do we protect colleagues who have been hurt and isolated by previous encounters with racism, sexism and homophobia from feeling even more hurt and isolated? I don’t think there’s a one-size-corrects-all solution. But I know the effort starts when leaders make themselves available to hear the concerns of their employees. Many managers aren’t aware of the resources available to help employees navigate these issues.

As leaders, we increase the productivity and responsiveness of our teams when we show compassion, concern and empathy for them. When we humanize mental illness, we introduce the tools and language to talk about it and save lives, particularly for people of color and LGBTQ people who are already less likely to receive treatment and confront insensitivity if they do. We make people a priority. Just as important, we give our colleagues permission to let their masks slip so we can help them when they need it.

About the author: Darlene Slaughter, Vice President & Chief Diversity Officer of the United Way US Network, is a recognized leader in diversity and inclusion. She recently authored a chapter for a book promoting women’s leadership advancement, offering honest insight and advice into how she gained confidence in the workplace, opening the door to more leadership opportunities and helping her better understand how to use her strengths to support others’ growth. Mastering Your Inner Critic … and Seven Other High Hurdles to Advancement” hits newsstands Dec. 3, 2018.