Sue Schwartz

Sue Schwartz

You’ve undoubtedly heard the saying, “If you keep doing the same things you’re doing, you’ll continue to get the same results.” In some cases, that’s a good thing; especially if you’re doing things well. But it’s also a reminder that you always have to be open to new ideas and new ways of doing things.

That’s why the upcoming Wisconsin CASA Association state conference is so important. Whether you’re a community member interested in the well-being of children or a social worker, attorney, judge, child care professional or a CASA volunteer, you have to keep learning. The conference is an outstanding opportunity to do just that.

This year’s conference will be held Sept. 15 at St. Norbert College in De Pere. It will be a day full of speakers and breakout sessions specifically designed for those working with children in the court system. The children that CASA volunteers work with are in the court system through no fault of their own, generally, because of family strife, abuse or neglect. A CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) meets with a child on a regular basis, assessing the child’s needs and wishes. It’s a program that works. In fact, studies show that children with a CASA spend less time in the foster care system and do better in school.

All of the speakers and breakout sessions are designed to inform, educate and make the CASA process even better. The keynote speaker will be nationally known psychologist and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing expert Dr. Adrianne Fletcher, who will share her insights on hidden biases, social justice and other topics relating to working with children. EMDR therapy is a breakthrough therapy with special capacity to overcome the often-devastating effects of psychological trauma.

Breakout sessions cover a variety of topics including:

  • A View from The Bench, with Marc A. Hammer, Brown County Circuit Court judge, Branch 5.
  • Domestic Violence: The Basics, with Marissa Heim, CFLE.
  • Child Protective Services: From Soup to Nuts, with Kevin Brennan, manager of Brown County Health and Human Services; Lauren Krukowski, lead CPS aupervisor; and Samantha Wanger, assistant corporation counsel.
  • ACES to Achievement: How You Can Help Children Overcome Obstacles, with Marissa Heim, CFLE.
  • Youth Sex Trafficking in Wisconsin: An Overview, with Dr. Joy Ippolito, anti-trafficking coordinator for the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families.
  • Invest In Yourself: Time for a Sound Tune, with Sharon Murrock, R.N.
  • Panel discussion with former and current Foster Care youth.

No matter what you do in life, whether it’s your career or as a volunteer, you can always benefit from education and learning about what’s new and what works. We want attendees to come away energized to expand their knowledge base about helping these vulnerable children. Plus, it provides a great opportunity to network with others who share a passion for helping children.

If you’re interested, please consider attending the conference. We offer continuing education credits for professionals and, for volunteers, your fees are reimbursable. To learn more or to register, simply go to Wisconsin-Casa.org and click on “events,” and then Annual State Conference.

What you learn could make a life-changing impact on a child!

Sue Schwartz is the Executive Director of the Wisconsin CASA Association, which includes chapters in La Crosse, Monroe and Vernon counties.

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Tomah Journal editor

Steve Rundio is editor of the Tomah Journal. Contact him at 608-374-7785.

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