Local Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) programs met with the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) to discuss how each program can worker closer together to support the abused and neglected children of our region. Programs in attendance included Columbia Gorge CASA (Hood River, Wasco, & Sherman Counties), Frontier CASA (Gillam & Wheeler Counties), and ODHS District 9, which covers all 5 counties.
In many dependency cases, CASA and ODHS work closely together to help ensure positive outcomes for children that have experienced abuse and neglect. It is the role of ODHS to ensure that these children have safe placements until permanency can be achieved. In these cases, CASA serves as an additional support system for the child and is court appointed to advocate for the best interest of the child.
The idea for this meeting came from Columbia Gorge CASA program coordinator, Leah Campbell. “While we do collaborate on a daily basis, we have never had the opportunity for all of us to sit in the same room. This allowed everyone not only to better understand each other’s roles and how we can coordinate but to get to know each other as individuals,” said Campbell.
In the meeting, the programs discussed the unique differences of their roles and how they can leverage those differences to provide positive outcomes for these vulnerable children. The programs also discussed the importance of self-care and how taking care of one’s own mental health is important in order to be able to do this emotionally heavy work.
“We are all eager to continue to work together to provide an even stronger support system for our community’s most vulnerable children,” said Campbell.
Funding from the United Way of Columbia Gorge helped to make this meeting possible.