2019 CASA Conference

The 2nd Annual CASA of New Jersey Statewide Conference, free to CASA volunteers, trustees and staff, will be held on Friday, October 4, 2019 from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM (EDT) at The Professional Center at DCF, 30 Van Dyke Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ 08901.

Your local CASA office can provide the conference registration page address and sign on information.

The conference will provide important education for advocates to enhance their advocacy skills and impart knowledge about current issues impacting children in foster care.

Delivering the conference keynote address is Jackie Stanmyre, a leading expert and researcher on addictions and the opioid crisis in New Jersey, and a faculty of Rutgers School of Social Work.

MORNING WORKSHOPS

1A – SUPPORTING THE EDUCATION OF FOSTER YOUTH-HOW TO ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS

Some of the best predictors for success for children in foster care are related to education. Educational outcomes remain dismal for foster youth. Knowing how to navigate the educational system and the child’s particular school is key in monitoring their progress and supporting and advocating for their educational related needs. Learn how you can improve educational success for the children you serve. (Recommended for advocates)

1B – STRENGTHENING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CASAs AND KIDS

It can be challenging to communicate with youth who have been traumatized. Hear what has been successful for CASAs and learn tips on how to break through communication barriers and foster trusting relationships. (Recommended for advocates)

1C – BUILDING CASAs RESILIENCY FOR SECONDARY TRAUMA

Secondary or vicarious trauma is a natural but unproductive by-product of working with traumatized clients. Learn the symptoms, prevention and treatment of burnout and other signs of secondary trauma. (Recommended for all audiences)

1D – PRIME TARGETS: CHILD TRAFFICKING & FOSTER YOUTH – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

According to the National Foster Youth Institute, 60 percent of child sex trafficking victims are estimated to have a history in the child welfare system. In this workshop you will gain an understanding of why foster youth are particularly vulnerable, how to recognize the indicators of child trafficking, and how CASAs can play a role in preventing foster youths’ victimization. (Recommended for all audiences)

1E – NEW JERSEY’S JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEM AND THE SCHOOL TO PRISON PIPELINE

Statistics show that the U.S. prison population includes a high percentage of people who were formerly in foster care. Workshop participants will learn about the disproportionate tendency of minors and young adults — particularly racial minorities and children with disabilities — to become incarcerated, because of increasingly harsh school and local policies. An overview of New Jersey’s juvenile justice system will be presented and participants will have an opportunity for Q & A with the workshop facilitators. (Recommended for advocates)

1F – PLANNED GIVING

Learn the fundamentals of a planned giving program for your organization. Find out how you should cultivate donors in receiving lifetime gifts of cash, equity, and property. (Recommended for staff and trustees)

1G – EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT (AGES 0-5) & ACCESSING EARLY INTERVENTION

Research has established the importance of the early years of a child’s life to their social and emotional development as well as their educational success. This workshop will present the typical growth, development, and milestones of a child from birth to five years of age, and help recognize atypical development and when early intervention may be needed. You will learn what assessment and early intervention services are available in New Jersey and how they are accessed. (Recommended for advocates)

1H – THE IMPORTANCE OF LIFELONG RELATIONSHIPS: BIOLOGICAL FAMILIES & FAMILIES OF CHOICE

Lifelong connections — whether biological or those of choice — are important for everyone, and often nonexistent for foster youth. These relationships give youths a sense of belonging and are a vital resource as they move into adulthood. Participants will learn the role CASAs can play in identifying appropriate, supportive, reliable adults in a youth’s life, and how you can support those connections. (Recommended for advocates)

AFTERNOON WORKSHOPS

2A – Supporting The Education Of Foster Youth-How To Ask The Right Questions

(This is a repeat of the morning 1A workshop)
Some of the best predictors for success for children in foster care are related to education. Educational outcomes remain dismal for foster youth. Knowing how to navigate the educational system and the child’s particular school is key in monitoring their progress and supporting and advocating for their educational related needs. Learn how you can improve educational success for the children you serve. (Recommended for advocates)

2B – STRENGTHENING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CASAs AND KIDS

(This is a repeat of the morning 1B workshop)
It can be challenging to communicate with youth who have been traumatized. Hear what has been successful for CASAs and learn tips on how to break through communication barriers and foster trusting relationships. (Recommended for advocates)

2C – BUILDING CASAs RESILIENCY FOR SECONDARY TRAUMA

(This is a repeat of the morning 1C workshop)
Secondary or vicarious trauma is a natural but unproductive by-product of working with traumatized clients. Learn the symptoms, prevention and treatment of burnout and other signs of secondary trauma. (Recommended for all audiences)

2D – PRIME TARGETS: CHILD TRAFFICKING & FOSTER YOUTH – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW (This is a repeat of the morning 1D workshop)

According to the National Foster Youth Institute, 60 percent of child sex trafficking victims are estimated to have a history in the child welfare system. In this workshop you will gain an understanding of why foster youth are particularly vulnerable, how to recognize the indicators of child trafficking, and how CASAs can play a role in preventing foster youths’ victimization. (Recommended for all audiences)

2E – BECOMING A COMPETENT ADVOCATE FOR LGBTQI YOUTH

This workshop focuses on cultural competency and will address the impact of power and privilege when accessing services, heterosexism and homophobia and the various forms in which they manifest in the personal and professional realms, and how it impacts the quality of services provided. Participants will be presented with strategies on how to create safe, inclusive spaces for the LGBTQ+ community. (Recommended for all audiences)

2F – DIVERSITY AND INCLUSIVENESS PLANNING

Learn the benefits of a robust diversity and inclusiveness plan and how to improve recruitment of a more diverse staff, board, and volunteer pool. You will leave the workshop with and understanding of the components of a good plan. (Recommended for staff and trustees)

2G – PEER COORDINATOR ROUNDTABLE

If you are a Peer Coach, Peer Coordinator, or paid staff member in a program that utilizes the PC model, then you may want to join this moderated roundtable. We will start by discussing a few best practices in PC model implementation, and then transition to a discussion format where participants will be encouraged to share successes and ideas as well as questions and concerns. (For Peer Coordinators, Peer Coaches, and their supervisors only)

2H – DEMYSTIFYING THE TEEN YEARS

Under typical circumstances teenagers can be challenging. For CASAs working with teens in the foster care system who have experienced trauma, trying to understand and connect with them can be even more challenging. This workshop will explore the adolescent brain and how it affects teens’ behavior, and the nuances of adolescent development and cultural norms. (Recommended for advocates)

There will be opportunities to network with fellow advocates and staff, as well as youth-serving social service providers and community organizations who will have exhibitor tables at the conference.

During September 2018 the first CASA of New Jersey Conference was held at the Department of Children Families Professional Center. When asked about the conference attendees said the following:
“The workshops were excellent”.

“Thank you! Appreciate all of the time and energy required to mount an event of this size”.

“This day was absolutely awesome”.

”I loved hearing personal stories [of the keynote and plenary speakers]”.

“Great conference and excellent lunch”.

“You provided a great conference. I am looking forward to the next one”.