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A Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) is a volunteer that provides a voice for abused and neglected children who find themselves in the court system. Volunteer advocates offer judges and officials the critical information they need to ensure each child’s rights and needs are being attended to while in foster care. Often a CASA volunteer is the only constant adult presence in a child’s life.

The West Virginia CASA Association partners with counties in West Virginia to develop programs to create a network of these CASA volunteers. We work to assist and strengthen the CASA programs established throughout West Virginia by offering technical assistance, training, public awareness activities, research and resource development to create a quality volunteer advocacy network. Our goal is to engage and empower enough volunteers to give a voice to every abused and neglected child in the West Virginia court system.

The WV CASA Association is a 501(c)3 organization.

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Conference Agenda and Registration Link

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Conference Agenda

8:00-8:15 Opening

8:15-10:15 Session One: Understanding and supporting Veteran Families

Presenter: R. Jeremy Harrison, COO, Helping Heroes, Inc.

There are a large number of child victims of abuse and neglect that have family members that exhibit adjustment issues when returning from combat as well as the children having to face the deployment of a family member. This session is designed to familiarize the direct service provider with the unique needs of these children and their families.

At the conclusion of the workshop, participants will be able to:

– become familiar with military organization and culture;

– describe PTSD and some of its major causes and symptoms;

– identify particular areas of concern regarding PTSD in servicemen and women returning from the Global War on Terrorism;

– describe secondary PTSD and some of its major causes and symptoms;

– recognize common readjustment problems likely to be experienced by veteran family members;

identify how families cope with parents being deployed;

10:15 – 10:30    Break

10:30-12:00  Session Two: Abuse and Neglect Court Procedure 101

Presenters: Jennifer Pigott, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Marion County

Jennifer Stephens, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Monongalia County

A through understanding of WV Law is imperative in working with children and families involved in the child protection system. A review of the procedure for Chapter 49 child abuse and neglect cases will be presented and discussed.

12:00-1:00 Lunch Session : Mental Health First Aid and Suicide Risk Awareness for Stakeholders working with Children

Presenter: Dianna Bailey-Miller Project AWARE WV

Data reveals WV young people face a variety of primary and secondary traumatic experiences, often at higher rates, when compared with other youth in the nation. About 19% of the state’s children have experienced abuse or neglect, nearly double the nationwide rate of just over 10%. This workshop is designed to assist professionals in recognizing and responding to mental health concerns among WV youth and assist communities with the implementation of Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) and Youth Mental Health First Aid program.

1:00-3:00  Session Three: Medical centered Treatment for Opioid Addiction: What does it mean for families and children hit hard by the WV Opioid crisis?

Presenter: James H. Berry, DO Associate Professor/ Medical Director, CRC and Inpatient Acute Dual Diagnosis Program

West Virginia had the highest drug-overdose death rate in the US with 41.5 deaths per 100,000 people in 2015. “Medication Assisted Treatment is the best evidence-based weapon doctors have right now to help the seemingly endless number of people whose lives are being destroyed by opioid addiction,” said James Berry, D.O., addiction psychiatrist and medical director at WVU Medicine’s Chestnut Ridge Center. This training will assist CASA volunteers, staff and others in becoming knowledgeable about this form of treatment and the dynamics involved in providing direct services to child victims.

3:00-3:15 Break

3:15-5:00  Session Four  WV School Education Policy, Law, and Advocacy – A Role for the CASA Volunteer.

Presenter Kevin Neito, Volunteer Supervisor, Western Regional CASA

This training will provide CASA staff and volunteers with an overview of West Virginia education policy, law, and procedure in West Virginia and opportunities for volunteer advocacy and support to equip them to effectively advocate for child victims in the educational setting. Topics covered will include special education qualifications and accommodations and school disciplinary policies and procedures. Resources and sample forms will be provided

To register:

Stopping vicious cycles in W.Va.

Martinsburg Journal – April 28, 2017

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