Getting Out in the Storm: COVID-19

Updated 3/16/20

To our CASA volunteers,

These last few days have been a storm of information, cancellations, and questions about the days and weeks to come. We are closely monitoring and weighing information as it becomes available to ensure that we can continue to provide the highest quality advocacy for the children and youth our volunteers serve. We are very aware and thankful that your commitment to these children surpasses the furry of any storm that can be thrown our way!!

As the storm of COVID-19 comes, we can continue to advocate for the best interests of our CASA children through our actions. please follow the following guidelines as you go about your advocacy:

  • Child Visits:
    • All child visits are suspended until further notice.
      • We have heard from DFCS that they are suspending a lot of their in-home, face-to-face visitation as well.
    • DO maintain contact with children and placement resources through phone calls, Facetime, Zoom calls, and other electronic forms of communication. Please keep in mind that privacy and confidentiality matter as you make these calls so please ensure (to the extent possible) that these are private communications. Please make this distanced contact frequent.
  • Court, Panels, and Other Meetings:
    • The Georgia Supreme Court, Superior Court of the Macon Judicial Circuit, and Juvenile Court of the Macon Judicial Circuit have all declared a “judicial emergency.”
    • Panels have been suspended for the next 30 days, starting today.
    • With regard to Court, Judge Matthews has asked that cases be handled via consent to the extent possible and cases with witnesses or additional parties be continued. He has also encouraged GALs to waive the children’s presence whenever possible. Preliminary Protective Hearings and Adjudicatory hearings will take place. Based on this directive, only one member of CASA staff will attend court. Volunteers will not attend Court for the next 30 days. Please make sure to keep your Coordinators up-to-date so that, to the extent that matters are heard, staff will be prepared to voice your concerns and recommendations. We will also keep you up-to-date with what cases are being heard, continued, etc.
    • We are still waiting for clarity with regard to family visitation, visitation review meetings, etc. from the Lighthouse and will update as we have answers.
  • CASA Volunteer Informational Meeting:
    • In light of widespread closures, the Informational meeting for potential volunteers is postponed. Once we have rescheduled, we will let you know so that you can help us spread the word to people who want to know more about what we do at Central Georgia CASA.
  • Office and Staff:
    • Our staff is encouraged to work from home through March 31. As always, if you need to speak with your Volunteer Coordinator or our Executive Director, you are very welcome to call.

Thank you all for your willingness to get out in the storms of life to advocate for the most vulnerable children and youth in our community. We know that each of you will be patient and understanding as we weather this new storm together.