Boston CASA https://bostoncasa.org Mon, 05 Aug 2019 19:18:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.2 From a CASA Volunteer https://bostoncasa.org/from-a-casa-volunteer Mon, 05 Aug 2019 19:17:59 +0000 https://bostoncasa.org/?p=2757 I work with an 11-year old boy, and as our relationship has evolved, so too have our monthly outings. Initially we would take a walk to the nearby playground or library, and that was easy and nice. But I kept thinking I could do more to make the most of our time together. As we…

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I work with an 11-year old boy, and as our relationship has evolved, so too have our monthly outings.

Initially we would take a walk to the nearby playground or library, and that was easy and nice. But I kept thinking I could do more to make the most of our time together. As we become more comfortable spending longer stretches of time together and I developed a trusted rapport with the foster family, I started branching out with slightly more exciting activities.

Thus far, we’ve enjoyed trips to the movies, the trampoline park, and the indoor rock climbing gym. His foster parents are older, and they don’t always have the energy for these types of outings – so I’m not sure how often he gets to do stuff like this. And, like many 11-year olds, he spends too much time on a screen/device.

It’s exciting to see him truly look forward to these trips with me – particularly the ones where he’s getting a much-needed dose of exercise and physical activity, in addition to the benefit of confidence and social dynamics he gets from partaking in challenges with other kids. I’ve seen him conquer the ninja course at the trampoline park after really hesitating over one aspect of it, and I’ve seen him reach the top of the climbing wall after a number of failed attempts – it was so gratifying to watch and I loved seeing the boost it gave him.

I’d like to continue to do more of these types of things with him – I’m exploring a hike, a nature walk, and swimming as future possibilities. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to sit in comfortable silence in a cool, air-conditioned movie theater munching popcorn, and we certainly have more of those afternoons in our future, but I think he needs more and I am happy to be someone who can provide that.

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Meet Keylara https://bostoncasa.org/meet-keylara Tue, 23 Jul 2019 19:43:48 +0000 https://bostoncasa.org/?p=2684 Keylara has been in and out of residential treatment centers and Foster Care placements for nearly five years, after being removed first from the care of her mother and then her grandmother for neglect. During that time Keylara was moved between five residential treatment centers, four foster homes, and multiple STARR programs, designed to be…

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Keylara has been in and out of residential treatment centers and Foster Care placements for nearly five years, after being removed first from the care of her mother and then her grandmother for neglect. During that time Keylara was moved between five residential treatment centers, four foster homes, and multiple STARR programs, designed to be a short-term placement for stabilization. Until this last January, Keylara had run from all of them.

In 2016 Keylara was assigned a CASA (Beth) with whom she had a consistent if distant relationship for a period of time while Keylara was in her last residential placement.  Then, for nearly a year, Keylara showed little to no interest in having any relationship with her. As CASAs do, the CASA kept reaching out, texting Keylara every couple of weeks (with no response) and did her best to stay in touch with the DCF worker. After being missing for several months, Keylara texted her CASA, out of the blue, and asked if they could get lunch.  Beth, of course, jumped at the opportunity!

In the months that followed Keylara was able to reconnect with DCF and be placed in a foster home, which was had been her goal while she was on the run. Once in the foster home, Keylara worked with her CASA to get a job at More Than Words bookstore, set up a bank account, and start thinking about way to complete her high school education. In addition, Beth was able to support Keylara and her defense attorney in resolving two outstanding warrants in separate counties to allow Keylara a fresh start.  After six months in her foster placement, the longest she had stayed in one setting for years, the bad news came that the foster parent was retiring from fostering. Keylara was moved to another foster home.

This move was over a month ago and with the support of Beth, Keylara has not gone on the run. She has worked through challenges to learn how to communicate with her new foster parent, and she continues to work at the bookstore. While there will be many challenges ahead her CASA plans to be with her to face them and help Keylara develop a sense of pride in herself as she builds supportive and positive relationships.

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Meet Ronny https://bostoncasa.org/meet-ronny Tue, 11 Jun 2019 18:04:16 +0000 https://bostoncasa.org/?p=2618 Ronny is a 14-year-old boy who was struggling with depression and getting to school. After 60 unexcused absences, the school filed a CRA petition (Child Requiring Assistance) with the court. His mother is the family’s sole provider and has a very demanding job. She cannot always be available when he needs her. CASA Nina was…

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Ronny is a 14-year-old boy who was struggling with depression and getting to school.

After 60 unexcused absences, the school filed a CRA petition (Child Requiring Assistance) with the court. His mother is the family’s sole provider and has a very demanding job. She cannot always be available when he needs her.

CASA Nina was assigned to support the Ronny and his family. At first, Ronny was reluctant to meet with Nina. Our CASA did not give up. Nina kept reaching out, and within a couple of months, she was able to establish a good relationship with him.

As Nina got to know Ronny, she focused on small thing that she thought would be helpful to him. She provided him with an alarm clock, so he can set an alarm to wake up in time for school. She even donated a used bicycle to Ronny, as she determined that that he needed one, but his mother was not able to afford it. Nina called the school principal to get Ricky a free bus pass, but he was so excited with owning the bike that he chose to ride his bike to school instead of taking a bus!

Nina is not only meeting expectation of the court by trying to help Ricky attend school, she is doing everything she can to help him thrive.

Nina helped Ronny’s mother reinstate her Mass Health so Ronny can resume the mental health counseling he desperately needed. He was recently screened for suicidal ideation and is receiving services away from home. When Ricky gets back home, he can count on one more person other than his mother. That person, you guessed it right, is CASA Nina. 

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Meet Colleen https://bostoncasa.org/meet-colleen Fri, 31 May 2019 17:32:39 +0000 https://bostoncasa.org/?p=2577 Baby Colleen was placed in foster care at 2 months old after being removed from her home for neglect. Now at 6 months, Colleen’s CASA is supporting her single father in his role as a first time dad as he seeks to regain custody of his daughter.The CASA helped him vet daycare options, prepare to…

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Baby Colleen was placed in foster care at 2 months old after being removed from her home for neglect. Now at 6 months, Colleen’s CASA is supporting her single father in his role as a first time dad as he seeks to regain custody of his daughter.The CASA helped him vet daycare options, prepare to introduce solid foods, and engage with providers in his community for long-term success. Despite a traumatic beginning to her life, Colleen is now thriving in her Dad’s care with the support of her CASA.

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Meet Jimmy https://bostoncasa.org/meet-jimmy-and-his-casa-franny Mon, 20 May 2019 16:16:36 +0000 https://bostoncasa.org/?p=2438 At the time his CASA met him in May of 2017, Jimmy was a 12-year old boy who had been in a residential treatment facility since 2015 and involved in the child welfare system since the age of 3. Jimmy had experienced domestic violence and physical abuse with his family of origin. The parental rights for…

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At the time his CASA met him in May of 2017, Jimmy was a 12-year old boy who had been in a residential treatment facility since 2015 and involved in the child welfare system since the age of 3. Jimmy had experienced domestic violence and physical abuse with his family of origin. The parental rights for Jimmy’s parents were terminated.Jimmy experienced 18 different placements through DCF between 2006 and 2018.

As a result of his experiences, Jimmy exhibited aggressive behaviors and difficulty attaching with others. His behaviors were not improving, according to his clinicians, at least in part because of a lack of visitors and hope for moving forward and finding permanency. In short, Jimmy was “stuck.”

His CASA Franny entered his life and began taking him for walks with her dog and just connecting with Jimmy in a non-clinical, non-threatening way. Over time, Franny and Jimmy began taking trips into the community and Franny began to understand Jimmy and his challenges very well. Franny understood what Jimmy struggled with and worked to support him in any way she could.

Franny’s role with Jimmy came to the attention of her classmate, Andy, when Franny was reaching out to resources on Jimmy’s behalf. Andy expressed interest in meeting Jimmy and potentially fostering him. Andy is the adoptive father of two other boys whose situations are similar to Jimmy’s so he understood the needs and difficulties of an adolescent with Jimmy’s trauma history. In the spring of 2018, Jimmy met his two new dads, two new brothers and two new pet dogs.

Jimmy moved into his new home in August 2018 and has successfully transitioned to his new family. Adoption proceedings have begun and this new, happy family should be formally approved in the near future!

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Executive Director https://bostoncasa.org/executive-director Thu, 16 May 2019 13:29:07 +0000 https://bostoncasa.org/?p=2406 The Opportunity Boston CASA, a 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to ensure a safe and permanent home for court-involved children in Suffolk and Middlesex County, seeks a visionary Executive Director to lead the organization into a successful new chapter, building on the foundation of nearly thirty years of success. Since 1982, Boston Court Appointed Special…

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The Opportunity

Boston CASA, a 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to ensure a safe and permanent home for court-involved children in Suffolk and Middlesex County, seeks a visionary Executive Director to lead the organization into a successful new chapter, building on the foundation of nearly thirty years of success. Since 1982, Boston Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) has made a difference in the lives of abused and neglected children in our community.

The organization fulfills its mission by recruiting, training and supervising volunteers from the community who are appointed as a child’s guardian ad litem (GAL), to protect and promote their “best interest.” Boston CASA advocates are appointed by juvenile court judges to be the eyes and ears of the court in complicated abuse and neglect cases. CASA volunteers work to be a unifying force on behalf of children – gathering information, communicating with all parties, and ensuring that children in foster care have a caring and consistent adult speaking up for them and making sure they are receiving the care they need and deserve. Read a few success stories here.

The search for a new Executive Director provides an opportunity to bring new energy, vision and creativity to an organization that is poised to expand its reach and impact through expansion of its proven and successful program. The Executive Director will partner with the Board of Directors, staff, the Juvenile Court Department, and community partners to refine the strategic vision and lead the implementation of the strategic plan. She/he be a passionate voice in conveying the need for CASAs, the impact on children’s lives, the need for systemic change addressing the needs of foster children and the reasons volunteers and funders should support the work. This position calls for a leader with outstanding strategic, fundraising and management skills, along with an enterprising spirit and a strong commitment to Boston CASA’s mission.

The Executive Director reports to a Board of Directors and oversees a staff of 11 employees. Its annual budget is approximately $1 million.

Background and Current Situation

CASA volunteers come from all walks of life and have a variety of professional, educational and cultural backgrounds. They are selected on the quality of their objectivity, competence, and commitment, and undergo a rigorous application, screening and training process.

For many abused children, their CASA volunteer will be the one constant adult presence in their lives in which foster parents, social workers, lawyers, teachers and mental health providers can change frequently. A child with a CASA volunteer is more likely to find a safe, permanent home, is half as likely to re-enter the foster care system, and is more likely to succeed in school. Read more here about the evidence of effectiveness of a CASA in a child’s life.

The CASA model was first introduced in 1977 when a Seattle Juvenile Court Judge, concerned about making drastic decisions with insufficient information, conceived the idea of citizen volunteers speaking up for the best interests of abused and neglected children in the courtroom. From that first program has grown a network of nearly 1,000 CASA and guardian ad litem programs that are recruiting, training and supporting volunteers in 49 states and the District of Columbia.

Boston CASA was created in 1982 and initially funded by the Suffolk County Juvenile Court. In January 2012, Boston CASA became an autonomous non-profit and hired its first Executive Director. Since 2012, Boston CASA has grown exponentially, increasing its staff from one to ten and its operating budget to $1M (FY20).  Currently, 146 volunteers are assigned to serve 209 children. In 2014, Boston CASA began partnering with the Attorney General’s office on an Older Youth Mentoring Initiative created to address how to best support older youth aging out of the foster care system in Massachusetts.

The Role of the Executive Director

The new Executive Director will inherit a highly regarded organization on the brink of making a substantial leap in its size and impact. Raising the profile of the organization, increasing its revenues, diversifying the sources of that revenue, strengthening its management and engaging in strategic partnerships are key priorities for the incoming Executive Director. More specifically, the new Executive Director will:

Provide strategic and visionary leadership.

  • Provide overall leadership for the organization and identify and address areas challenging Boston CASA’s evolution and growth.
  • Thoroughly understand Boston CASA – its history and culture; governance structure, staff, Board, funding streams, programs, outreach, community network, political landscape and constituencies.
  • Interpret, own and implement current staff work plans with an eye focused on scale, organizational development and financial sustainability; ensure that goals and objectives are clear with regular check-ins to assess progress or impediments; through collaboration with staff, prioritize and balance workflow with intended outcomes.
  • Stay abreast of developments and trends in the foster care/child welfare arena; consider and introduce ideas that advance Boston CASA’s agenda.
  • Maintain a climate that attracts, retains, motivates and develops a diverse, high-quality staff, volunteers and Board; create an environment that embraces collaboration, innovation, accountability and diversity of opinion.

Raise the profile and visibility of the organization.

  • Expand the public’s understanding of Boston CASA’s brand and work so that its mission, values, outcomes and stories are consistently and effectively conveyed through the website, social media, and printed collateral.
  • Conduct public speaking and community outreach with the goal of building support for Boston CASA; serve as an empathic advocate and knowledgeable spokesperson on issues related to foster children.
  • Assume an active working role with various local collaboratives that move system-change activities forward; develop and cultivate mutually beneficial relationships with other nonprofit organizations, community leaders, the Juvenile Court and state and local government to deepen the services and partnerships necessary to fully support the needs of foster children.

Increase the resources of the organization.

  • In collaboration with the Development Director, create an annual fund development strategy; review all current fundraising activities and segmentation by donor type to determine how resources are being allocated; refocus, if needed, to ensure energies are prioritized on activities with greatest ROI.
  • As Fundraiser-in-Chief, personally drive the cultivation, solicitation and stewardship of new and existing major donors and grants; ensure appropriate staffing is in place to support fund development strategy; provide coaching and support to Board members to assist in their fundraising activities.

Improve infrastructure and operations to support program growth and impact.

  • Ensure that day-to-day operations and programs are professionally and efficiently organized and administered; ensure proper administration of contracts, including compliance with relevant employment laws and other legal requirements; maintain and strengthen the organization’s infrastructure including IT systems, financial controls and related business processes to sustain and improve service.
  • Review current organization structure to assess that senior management has the appropriate training and resources to effectively lead their teams and advance operational and strategic goals; provide continued assessment of staff to ensure advancement, productivity and performance.
  • Review all internal communications, systems, controls, processes and procedures; ensure that Boston CASA’ maintains a solid operational foundation; provide leadership toward implementation of continuous improvements in organization’s processes and technology that ensures effective delivery of donor/volunteer centric services.
  • Maintain the organization’s fiscal health, make sure it adheres to a sustainable financial plan based on a Board-approved annual budget and that financial performance positively tracks budget and operating plans; foster an atmosphere of transparency and accountability in matters relating to the organization’s financial condition.
  • Establish metrics and dashboards ensuring programs meet objectives and that data is captured and analyzed for program evaluation purposes.

Nurture and facilitate Board development and learning.

  • Become familiar with Boston CASA’s governance policies; develop, recommend and implement policies, fundraising and program goals and objectives; provide ongoing communication to the Board on critical matters related to Boston CASA.
  • With the Board Chair and Executive Committee, coordinate the efforts of regular and ad hoc committees; develop meeting agendas, schedules, retreats and other activities with the Executive Committee; ensure that all committees achieve objectives; encourage Board members’ appropriate involvement in Boston CASA’s range of activities.
  • Assist the Board in identifying and recruiting new Board members whose talents, backgrounds, commitment and interests are congruent with the needs and mission of Boston CASA.

Candidate Profile

The Executive Director will be a visionary but pragmatic leader possessing the following key qualifications and characteristics:

  • A commitment to the mission of Boston CASA; an understanding of the needs and challenges of foster children, either as a nonprofit leader in a related field, a current or former CASA, public official or nonprofit board member, with eight+ years of management experience.
  • A strong track record in attracting financial support, whether as a nonprofit executive or board member, or from the commercial sector, from individuals, foundations or businesses; a strong partnership/relationship builder.
  • Decisive and resourceful, with the organizational sensitivity to gain the support and confidence of the Board and staff at all levels; a team builder and collaborator, confident and competent, with strong skills in management and leadership; one who trusts and empowers the senior management team; understands the subtleties of recruiting, motivating, directing and retaining a diverse group of personalities with different work styles.
  • One who is creative and can identify and convey the synergies and mutual benefits that come from collaboration; a contributor who works well with diverse stakeholders, partners and collaborators; politically savvy.
  • Outstanding oral and written communication skills.

To Apply


Boston CASA has retained the services of Gale Batchelder at New Leadership Group to assist with this search.  Nominations and application including a cover letter describing your interest and qualifications, and your resume (in Word or PDF format) should be submitted to gale.batchelder@newleadershipgroup.com.

At Boston CASA, we don’t just accept difference – we celebrate it, support it, and thrive on it for the benefit of our team and the communities we serve. Boston CASA is an equal opportunity employer and as such, we do not discriminate against any team member or candidate because of race, creed, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, national origin, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, marital status, pregnancy, or any other basis protected by law.  We encourage all to apply because we believe a diversity of voices leads to better discussions, decisions, and outcomes for everyone.

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Meet David https://bostoncasa.org/meet-david Mon, 13 May 2019 20:09:18 +0000 https://bostoncasa.org/?p=2402 Seventeen-year-old David has been in DCF custody for two years following the death of his mother, his grandmother’s illness, and the lack of other family members to care for him. David has significant intellectual disabilities and will be in the long-term care of the state. His CASA volunteer Jean, is in regular contact with his clinicians at…

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Seventeen-year-old David has been in DCF custody for two years following the death of his mother, his grandmother’s illness, and the lack of other family members to care for him. David has significant intellectual disabilities and will be in the long-term care of the state. His CASA volunteer Jean, is in regular contact with his clinicians at his facility, attends court hearings to monitor his medications, and regularly attends David’s basketball games and school plays to cheer him on. Her presence counts for David as she is the only one in the audience there to see him. He proudly presented her with a signed cast photo of himself after his latest theater performance. He also asked to have his picture taken with her to hang on the bulletin board in his room. Jean plans to remain in his life cheering him on for many years to come.

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Reunifying a Family https://bostoncasa.org/reunifying-a-family Tue, 31 Jul 2018 14:50:01 +0000 https://bostoncasa.org/?p=1700 Our CASA volunteers are important members of a team of people who work tirelessly to find safe, permanent homes for children in foster care. We would like to tell you about Linda, a CASA volunteer who recently assisted with the reunification of two young boys and their family. For over two years, Linda’s boys –…

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Our CASA volunteers are important members of a team of people who work tirelessly to find safe, permanent homes for children in foster care.

We would like to tell you about Linda, a CASA volunteer who recently assisted with the reunification of two young boys and their family.

For over two years, Linda’s boys – Matthew and Sean – were in foster care and bounced from house to house until a distant relative from out of state eventually agreed to adopt them. Although the boys were in the permanent custody of the Department of Children and Families (DCF), their parents remained determined to turn their circumstances around and bring the boys home. After months of hard work, Matthew and Sean were reunited with their Mom and Dad and their case was dismissed from the court.

As you can imagine, this was an unlikely outcome given the original scenario. However, with a support team beside them, the parents of Matthew and Sean were able to reunify their family. Linda played an important role on this team as a critical source of support for Matthew and Sean, their biological parents, and their foster parents. She was able to connect all parties to important services and even secured an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for Sean. In addition – and perhaps most importantly – Linda was able to provide the court with meaningful information about how each child and parent were doing, so that the court could make an informed decision about the ultimate outcome.

It was a happy day in court when Matthew and Sean were reunited with their Mom and Dad, and while Matthew and Sean’s parents did all of the hard work that made it possible for their children to come home, it does take a village. Linda continues to be committed to this family to ensure they have what they need for continued success.

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Ring in Spring https://bostoncasa.org/ring-in-spring https://bostoncasa.org/ring-in-spring#respond Fri, 20 Apr 2018 14:08:25 +0000 https://www.bostoncasa.org/?p=1264 Join us for a night of fun in support of Boston CASA! Click here to purchase tickets. Friday, May 11th from 5 – 8:30 PM Bostonia Public House 131 State Street, Boston BITES  |  BAR  |  RAFFLE *Open Bar 5 – 7 PM

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Join us for a night of fun
in support of Boston CASA!

Click here to purchase tickets.

Friday, May 11th from 5 – 8:30 PM
Bostonia Public House
131 State Street, Boston

BITES  |  BAR  |  RAFFLE
*Open Bar 5 – 7 PM

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Supporting a Child's Health & Wellness https://bostoncasa.org/role-casa-supporting-childs-health-wellness https://bostoncasa.org/role-casa-supporting-childs-health-wellness#respond Tue, 27 Mar 2018 19:56:35 +0000 https://www.bostoncasa.org/?p=1224 Research has found that, in addition to the variety of challenges they face, many children in foster care have serious and complex physical and mental health issues – the majority of which are rooted in their history of childhood trauma. Sadly, foster children develop physical health issues at rates higher than the national average (for…

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Research has found that, in addition to the variety of challenges they face, many children in foster care have serious and complex physical and mental health issues – the majority of which are rooted in their history of childhood trauma. Sadly, foster children develop physical health issues at rates higher than the national average (for example, they’re three times as likely to suffer from asthma and two times as likely to experience delayed growth) and are prone to developing emotional and behavioral health issues, which can become exacerbated by unstable foster care placements. Many times, these issues go undiagnosed or untreated before children enter foster care.

Boston CASA’s volunteer advocates help to make up for such a lack of oversight and play a critical role in monitoring the health of children in foster care, as well as coordinating their care. Because they are paired with one child or sibling group at a time, they are better able to observe a change in a condition or behavior and advocate for an adjustment in the child’s care. We recently learned, for example, of a volunteer who observed that her child had developed a slight tremor in his hand – a side effect of his antipsychotic medication that had gone unnoticed by those responsible for his care. We are very glad to report that the child’s treatment regimen is now under review as a result of the volunteer’s observation and advocacy, and are proud to share this story, which demonstrates the important work our volunteers do to help ensure the safety of our community’s most vulnerable children.

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