Friday, Dec. 3 is International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Youth with disabilities are at an increased risk of experiencing abuse or neglect. While data specific to the child welfare system are limited, the study Youth with Disabilities in the United States Child Welfare System shows that nearly one-third of the child welfare population has one or more of a range of disabilities. These children are more likely to be placed in restrictive, congregate care settings than their peers. They also experience more placement instability and are less likely to be reunified with their family of origin.
It’s critical that CASA volunteers are equipped with the knowledge on how to successfully advocate for these children’s best interest. Today, we’re spotlighting The SAFE Alliance’s Disability Services Program and some of the many resources they offer!
This online guide was designed to assist advocates in working with children with disabilities who’ve experience abuse or neglect. There are general sections with tips for all children, as well as sections specific to a child’s disability. Use the guide as a quick reference in the field, to learn more about a child’s disability before meeting them, or as a continuing education study guide! To load the All Kids SAFE app on your mobile device, click here for instructions.
This safety planning guide can serve as a guide to domestic violence advocates, disability service case managers, and social service workers supporting people with a variety of disabilities who are at risk of harm. It includes information to increase understanding of the safety concerns and support needs of children and families with a range of disabilities, making it helpful for CASA volunteers as well!
In this September 2020 episode of our podcast, we’re joined by two staff members with SAFE Disability Services, sharing strategies for how CASA volunteers can work to identify and promote protective factors that can help ensure youth with disabilities thrive in safety. Heidi and Rashid also discuss the importance of using a trauma-informed lens in advocating for youth with disabilities and share a wealth of resources for support and continued learning.
Last but not least, check out this compiled guide, Advocacy Resources for Youth with Disabilities.
You can explore the many resources and training opportunities The SAFE Alliance Disability Services Program offers on their website. You can also email them at firstname.lastname@example.org!