A MESSAGE FROM MARTY SINK, CASA-NH PRESIDENT AND CEO. Click here to see all of Marty’s messages.
As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves in New Hampshire, we are all changing the way we live our lives and run our organizations. This blog post is updated regularly to share how CASA of NH is adjusting our practices and protocols to prioritize safety while supporting our essential advocacy for children in need. The information below is current as of March 30, 2020.
If you have a specific question that is not answered here, please use the “Ask a Question” form at the end of this page and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
A skeleton crew is operating out of our Manchester office. Staff at all other offices is working remotely. During this period of social distancing, we continue to work hard to fulfill our mission and are accessible by email.
The fear and anxiety that many of us are feeling is likely to be magnified for the children and youth we serve who have also been affected by trauma. Over the next weeks (and possibly months), we will be focused on keeping in touch with our kiddos to help them feel connected and secure. However, to ensure the safety of CASA volunteers, staff and the children we serve, connections will now take place through video platforms, phone calls and traditional mail. We have suspended all child and family visits.
Marty Sink, CASA of NH President and CEO, has sent detailed updates and recommendations to all current volunteers. As a quick recap:
• The New Hampshire Supreme Court has suspended all in-person proceedings in the Circuit, Superior and Supreme Courts from: Monday, March 16- April 6, 2020. However, there are important exceptions. These hearings WILL take place:
◦ DCYF requests for emergency hearings and hearings on such orders
◦ Adjudicatory Hearings if the children are in an out-of-home placement
◦ Requests for Protective Orders for juveniles
◦ The presiding trial judge may determine that the hearings on the exceptions listed above may be conducted telephonically. If a hearing does go forward, attendance will be limited to only the necessary parties which will be determined by the judge.
• We ask CASA advocates to continue to draft all court reports for their scheduled hearings. Please continue to send draft reports to your Program Managers as usual (10 business days before the scheduled hearing), but do not file reports with the Court if the hearing has been continued. Our Program Managers will either submit those or have the CASA submit the report to the Court once we get the go-ahead. If necessary, addendums will be made.
• We are confident that most meetings with DCYF or others will happen by phone.
Current advocates should refer to the email from Marty for more information and/or contact your Program Manager.
Info Sessions and Trainings
Unfortunately, the need for more CASA volunteer advocates does not go away because of a pandemic. In 2019, 187 children went without a CASA by their side. If anything, abuse and neglect cases may rise in New Hampshire this year. We need to be prepared.
We are continuing to recruit and train new CASA volunteers but are moving to a virtual format for now.
Information Sessions Click here to see the full schedule of virtual information sessions.
Applicant Interviews We need new volunteers now, more than ever. You can apply right online and we are currently conducting interviews virtually.
Trainings After 22 new volunteers graduated virtually from the Dover training, we have added four virtual trainings for May, July, and August. Click here to see the full schedules.
Other Group Activities
Support groups for CASA volunteers will be on hiatus in April, but Program Managers will be checking in answer questions, provide support and catch up. Fundraising events and dinners that require in-person participation will be postponed until it is safe to congregate. We will keep you posted as we explore new ways to provide group interactions while practicing safe social distancing.
Have a question that was not answered here? Please use this form to send us your question and we will respond with an answer as quickly as possible! In the meantime, thank you for your continuing support and commitment.