The first in a series of training sessions is wrapping up today in Des Moines for volunteers who work with kids in the court system. State training liaison Glenda Griffin says sessions between now and spring will train volunteers in CASA — the Court-Appointed Special Advocate Program, and the Iowa Citizen Foster Care review board. Most are very special volunteers. She says some have worked in law or social services and want to do more for kids, or like her have been foster parents. Griffin says there’s a “head” and a “heart” portion of the training, beginning with legal rights and obligations. The laws and policies children and families have a right to, so they’re doing the legal thing when they advocate for the kids. The “heart” part of training deals with feelings and the turmoil in broken families the volunteers will work with. She says it’s understanding family dynamics, children’s behavior and their grieving and loss when they’re separated from a family and put in foster care. They can be such complex issues that even when everyone’s trying to do the right thing, there’s no happy solution and volunteers simply do they best they can. The training program concluding today in Des Moines called “Foundations in Child Advocacy” will be held November 14 – 16 in Iowa City, January 16-18 in Cedar Rapids, February 20-22 in Mason City, and March 20-22 in Des Moines again.
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