Communicating with your child’s attorney is an important part of your job as a CASA. When done effectively, it can benefit your child’s case. Done ineffectively, it can create unnecessary complications for the case. The following protocols ensure effective communication with the attorneys:
The primary way CASAs communicate with the attorneys is through email. It is the best way to share information about your case with the attorney. It is fast, efficient and leaves a record of the conversation. And there is no playing “phone tag”. Consult with your Advocate Supervisor if you think that you need to speak to an attorney on the phone. Your Advocate Supervisor can help you figure out the best way to contact the attorney.
Always CC your Advocate Supervisor- This is a standard protocol for communication with most professionals on your child’s case. It facilitates record keeping for your child’s case file and ensures that you are meeting your requirement to keep your Advocate Supervisor up-to-date on your case.
Send regular updates- Once a month, send an email to the attorney with key observations and facts from the last month. This helps the attorney stay up to date and provides and opportunity for them to ask questions. Your updates are read by the attorneys, but may not receive a response or acknowledgment. It is not personal, they are just busy.
Don’t ask questions- While the attorneys may share information from time to time, the child’s attorney is not a source of information for CASAs. In part, this protocol exists to avoid potential confidentiality/ conflict of interest issues. If you have questions for the attorney, consult with your CASA about the best way to get the information.
Consult with your CASA before bringing the attorney in on a concern- There are times when something comes up and you may want to bring the attorney into the situation before your regular update( IE a service is not being provided or concerns about the safety of a placement). You need to consult with your Advocate Supervisor before you take action. Your advocate supervisor can help you ensure that you choose the best way to involve the attorney.