Being a CASA During COVID-19 Concerns

Why Wear a Mask? Why Social Distance?

You can learn more about how cloth face coverings slow the transmission of covid-19 here.

This explains how to make one yourself as well as how to put on one, remove it and clean it.

And here’s some thoughts on talking to children about why you are wearing a mask.

Here’s how social distancing can protect our kids and families.

Here is a way to explain social distancing to a child.


What’s Going on at Court? 

The scheduling of Hamilton County Juvenile Court cases is in a state of flux. As a result, please check in with your CASA Manager for confirmation of the hearing date and time.

The court is currently using the Zoom application to conduct some remote hearings. If you have such a hearing, you will need to download the Zoom application here. You will receive a meeting ID and password.

If you need to attend court in person, your CASA Manager will let you know about any special procedures. For example, as of mid-May, only the first floor of the court building was open and masks were being provided to attendees.

Visiting While Keeping Safety Top of Mind

Carmen began with a phone call ahead of her visit.

“I wanted to come by at about 2,” she told the grandmother. “But I wanted to check in on you first. Has anyone been sick at your house?”

After finding out everyone was well, Carmen said that for her visit, she would be staying outside to help everyone stay healthy and asked the grandmother to let the little girl on the case that she would be needing to keep a distance and would be wearing a mask.

“Oh, we’re all getting used to that,” the grandmother said.

When Carmen arrived, one of the other adults in the home answered the door as Carmen stepped back on the porch.

“I figure you aren’t coming in,” she said. “I’ll get everyone.”

As the family came out to the porch, Carmen suggested where everyone could stand so that she could stay about 6 feet away from each of them.

While it wasn’t the normal sitting-around-the-kitchen-table kind of visit that Carmen had enjoyed before, everyone seemed happy for some company – even the socially distant kind, 

At ProKids, to continue to provide the best care possible for our kids and families, we are using the following procedures when visiting our children:

  • Call ahead to arrange the visit. Ask if anyone in the home has any health issues and, specifically, any symptoms of illness. Ask them to contact you if there are any changes before your visit.
  • Let the family know you will be visiting outdoors only and how that will take place: in the driveway, on the porch, at their front door, from your car window, etc. Make a plan so there will be at least 6 feet between you and the children and any family members.
  • Let them know you will be wearing a mask and that if they have masks, you would be happy if they wore them too.
  • Plan to use hand sanitizer immediately before and after the visit. Wash your hands when you return home, as well as your mask.

Of course, monitor your own health as well Let your CASA Manager know if you have any health concerns – like running a temperature – that necessitate re-scheduling the visit or having the CASA Manager go instead.

If your visit is in a group home or residential care setting, talk with you CASA Manager about any policies at the facility and how best to arrange a “visit”: by Zoom, FaceTime, etc.

Erin and a CASA Volunteer planned a visit with a foster family.
The CASA Volunteer called and texted the family in advance to make sure no one was ill or exhibiting any symptoms, and again when they arrived at the apartment complex.
Erin and the CASA Volunteer stood at least 6 feet apart, wearing masks, at the base of the outdoor stairway. The family came down with the children, ages 1 and 9-months-old. They held the girls as they stood on the stairs about 6 feet away from Erin and the CASA Volunteer. The family was not wearing masks.
The visit proceeded with updates on the girls, how virtual visits with their parents were going and other issues.  When the  foster dad let the restless toddler down to walk around, Erin and the CASA Volunteer  moved around to give her space as needed.

What a Gift!

The cloth face masks being distributed by CASA Managers were given to ProKids by Castle House and by donor crafters coordinated by Lauren Fernandez. The colorful, even playful, masks are designed to be washed and used repeatedly and many are sized for children.

If you know of any sewing group which can supply additional masks, please let your CASA Manager know!