KINSHIP CARE MONTH
2017 ANNUAL REPORT
inside this edition:
Volunteer Spotlight: Glynda Barnes
Kinship Care Month in Virginia
Letter from the Executive Director
Fiscal Year 2017 Annual Report
Meet Our Newest Team Member
Table of Contents
Inspiration for You
Meet the Board! Fiscal Year 2018
Nanette M. Bowler, Director, Fairfax County Department of Family Services
Susan Chibnall, Senior Study Director, Westat
Barbara A. Favola, Virginia Senate, D-31st District
Amy Gahndi, Senior Director of Compliance & Internal Audit, Evolennt Health
Margaret (Peggy) A. Padalino, Chief Revenue Officer, WealthEngine
letter from the executive director
meet the board for fiscal year 2018
Kevin Riley, Managing Partner, Axiom Resource Management
Wendell J. Chambliss, VP/Deputy General Counsel, Freddie Mac
Lisa Walsh, Mathematics Teacher, Cooper Middle School
Darcy Cunningham Executive Director
Sitting down to write this, I find it hard to believe that it is September and another school year has already begun. I feel as though the summer went by quicker this year than ever before: Here we are with the kids back in school, the football season upon us, and pumpkin everything out in the stores.
For the children we serve, school starting often acts as a life jacket in a dark and stormy existence. Last year in Virginia, school staff made 12% (9,315 calls) of all referrals to CPS, second only to law enforcement. Teachers are in a unique situation in that there is usually no adult more trusted by children who have been abused than an engaged and caring teacher. It makes sense that teachers often start a process that will restore safety in the child's world, pulling them to shelter. Thank you, to all of the educators who pick up that phone and make the call when they feel in their gut that something just isn’t right. Our volunteers here at CASA are ready and waiting with open arms, as our new school year begins, to scoop up every child caught in the storm.
I hope you all enjoy the last few weeks of summer-like weather and that your fall season is bountiful.
82.7% are grandmothers and aunts, 51.4% of them being single
*For more details, check out the article HERE
72.5% are over the age of 45
87.1% of kinship caregivers live in urban environments
KINSHIP CARE BY THE NUMBERS
The Child Welfare Information Gateway defines Kinship Care as "the care of children by relatives or, in some jurisdictions, close family friends (often referred to as fictive kin) ." There is no doubt that placing a child with a relative or another adult close to them and their family is beneficial. The familiarity and stability that can be provided to the child in a chaotic time of their life with this type of placement can certainly lessen the trauma of overwhelming change. Kinship Care also aids in maintaining a crucial tie to family and group identity for a child which enhances their sense of belonging and self-worth.
However, for all of these positives, unfortunately there are still struggles that plague Kinship Care providers. Fairfax County identifies 2 types of Kinship Care: Informal and Formal. Informal Care is the decision of the parent/guardian decides outside of any court that a child will live with another relative or family friend. Sometimes custody will be sought to allow the Kinship caregiver to be empowered to make crucial decisions in regards to the health and wellness of the child. Other times, the arrangement is far more informal. Kinship caregivers in this kind of situation face a lack of resources that would normally be available to them under Formal Care. Formal Kinship Care is ordered at the discretion of the courts and the child welfare agency wherein the child is placed with the caregiver for full time care. Although there is a greater span of resources available to Formal caregivers, many still face the challenge of what it is like to parent all over again. From diapers to homework to shuttling kids to baseball practice, the kinship care provider is put right back into a role they might have thought they'd never see again; one that is both costly and time consuming.
Governor McAuliffe has instituted September as Kinship Care Month in Virginia. This helps bring the benefits and challenges a kinship care provider and the child face with this type of placement to light.
kinship care month
29.2% have less than a high school diploma
Overall, kinship caregivers are more likely to live below the line of poverty
In Fairfax County, 7,460 grandparents are responsible for raising their grandkids, according to the 2010 Census.
A: What are some words of wisdom you would share with new volunteers?
G: Do not be discouraged if you don't see how you are helping, or if you are making a difference. Sometimes it isn't initially obvious that what you're doing is valuable; it may be easy to get bogged down in paperwork, or difficult interactions with professionals. Keep in mind that the child, whatever the age, is depending on you to let the judge know all about them. You are speaking for them, and while the results of a case may not be ideal, the work of being their advocate is vital.
Congratulations to Glynda Barnes for being selected to be our volunteer spotlight this issue! Glynda has been with CASA as a volunteer for 10 years. In her tenure with CASA she has served on 4 cases and covered countless 5 day hearings. Hearing Glynda's perspective on her initial motivations for joining CASA to what still drives her to push forward after many years was eye-opening and inspirational.
Ashleigh: What initially motivated you to become a CASA volunteer?
Glynda: When we moved here 11 years ago, I knew I wanted to become a CASA volunteer, and signed up at the first opportunity. We had adopted three children, ages 6, 8, and 12 at the time. They had been removed from their birth parents and placed in an abusive foster home. The first time we saw them, having signed papers to adopt them, they were coming off an airplane from thousands of miles away. It was a very different time then (our children are in their 40s now), and we knew nothing of post traumatic stress and other effects of abuse and neglect. When I heard of CASA, I knew I would like to be a part of the program that worked with abused and neglected children.
A: You make regular appearances around the office as you frequently volunteer to take on our 5 day hearings on short notice. What challenges do you face at these hearings versus taking on a full case?
G: Always reminding myself to be non-judgmental! When I read an affidavit before court, I try not to form opinions ahead of time. When waiting in the hall before court, I pick out the persons I assume to be the parents based on what I've read. I am often (usually) wrong. The challenge is to write the report of the court proceedings, and the behavior of the parties, in a way to give the prospective CASA volunteer as unbiased observation as I can. This can be challenging, but not nearly as difficult as writing a report for a case.
A: What is the most memorable moment for you over the years? When did you feel most impactful for a child?
G: One of my cases went on over two years. I first knew the child when she was an infant; she was put in foster care straight from the hospital, as her mother, who suffered from mental illness, had disappeared. When the case ended, she was almost three. There had been four social workers, two GALS, and changes back and forth between foster and birth parents. It turned out I was the only consistent presence in her life, so she was always delighted to see me (and I, her!). The case ended with an acrimonious court battle between foster parents and the birth mother, with the mother receiving custody. A month after the case closed, the birth mother contacted me, asking for contact information for the foster parents so she could invite them to day school graduation. I think being a liaison between the mother and foster parents during that time was so important for the child.
volunteer spotlight: Glynda BArnes
Interview by Ashleigh Conrad
Thank you to everyone who came out to support Fairfax CASA and our partnership event with Alex and Ani on September 14th!
Check out the CASA exclusive Starfish set. If you still would like to purchase one, stop by the Alex and Ani in mosaic District and put together a custom set!
Administrative, Marketing, and Events Associate
Welcome to our newest staff member, Ashleigh Conrad. Ashleigh is a graduate of College of Charleston in South Carolina where she majored in History and Anthropology. Since graduating she has served as a project and operations manager in the private sector. She's extremely excited to continue her career with CASA. You'll see her as soon as you visit the office, greeting everyone, answering phones, and working on our marketing and events.
When she's not working she enjoys hiking, visiting local wineries, listening to podcasts, and rooting on the Hokies and the Redskins. She also has a passionate love for all animals and cooking. Be sure to share pictures of your pups and your favorite recipes with her!
meet our newest team member: Ashleigh conrad
Annual report 2017
This past year saw many accomplishments, challenges, and moments of inspiration. As we reflect on the past year at CASA, the single biggest beacon of hope emanates from you- - our dedicated volunteers, stakeholders, amazing partners, collaborators, and generous donors. The achievements made to bring joy to the lives of abused and neglected children simply would not be possible without your tireless efforts. We hope you share in our celebration for another successful year.
Read the Annual Report Here
do small things with great love