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Advocacy Tip: Advocating for CASA Kids at School

Advocating for CASA Kids at School
Children in CPS care are frequently found to be delayed in their education and are at greater risk for falling further behind in school. One of the minimum expectations for a CASA volunteer is to maintain contact with the child’s teacher on a quarterly basis. CASA volunteers can advocate for their CASA kids by communicating with the child’s teacher regarding the child’s grades in school, any special education needs a child may have, and any issues or concerns that the teacher may have identified.

Questions to Ask
CASA volunteers can advocate for their children at school simply by asking some basic questions regarding their CASA kids. Inquiring about the child’s grades is a quick and easy way to identify subjects where a child may be falling behind, and can provide the volunteer with a starting point for advocating for additional services for the child. Other basic questions to ask include: whether or not the child appears to have any vision or hearing problems, whether the child appears to have difficulty following instructions or completing tasks, and how well the child interacts with their peers and with the teacher. For youth in care, CASA volunteers can also ask teachers or administrators if a youth is on track to graduate on time. CASA volunteers can advocate for youth to be provided with extra tutoring, or a credit recovery program, if they are in danger of falling behind their peers. CASA volunteers can also talk with the youth about any extra-curricular activities that they may want to participate in, which may help provide some incentive for the youth to do well in school.

Children with Special Education Needs
CASA volunteers can also have a big role in advocating for children with special education needs. CASA volunteers are able, and are strongly encouraged, to attend any ARD (Admissions, Review, and Dismissal) meetings for their CASA kids. These meetings can provide volunteers with detailed information about the child’s special education needs and discuss how the school plans to address those needs. Children with significant behavioral issues and diagnosed mental health conditions can also qualify for special education services and CASA volunteers can even assist the school and teachers in identifying strategies for addressing the child’s behaviors.

1. What information should advocates obtain from a child’s teacher or school?
2. True or False. CASA volunteers are required to communicate with the child’s teacher every month.
3. Should a CASA volunteer attend a child’s ARD meeting? Why or why not?

To receive 1 hour worth of training credit, read the above article and submit answers to the accompanying training questions to Anna Munoz at