From left: Dr. David McNeil, Vice-Chair, CASA Board; Dr. Denise Milne, CEO of CASA and CASA Foundation; Mr. Jason Luan, Associate Minister, Mental Health & Addictions, Government of Alberta.
With over 150 staff, four local operating sites, multiple treatment and education programs for children, teens and their families, along with dozens of fundraisers, sponsored public lectures and other events annually, CASA is one busy organization.
To help keep staff, donors, community partners, clients and volunteers up to speed on the latest news, CASA Chronicles will feature regular updates from CEO of CASA and CASA Foundation Dr. Denise Milne. We sat down with her recently to catch up. Here’s an edited version of our conversation:
Q: I understand you recently met with Alberta’s new Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, Jason Luan, who represents the riding of Calgary-Foothills. Can you tell us about that?
Sure. My colleagues at the meeting included CASA Board Chair Faye Parker, Vice-Chair Dr. David McNeil and Board member Judy Buddle. We met with Associate Minister Luan and his Chief of Staff, Marshall Smith, here at CASA Centre.
Q: And what was the focus of discussion?
Our focus was really on providing an overview of CASA’s activities as well as some historical background on our organization, including CASA Foundation.
Q: Did you touch on any current issues?
Yes, one was the issue of inadequate government grants to CASA, and the resulting wage disparities that creates. A second was the shortage of child psychiatrists in the system. But we also focused on all of the good things that are happening at CASA, including the new CASA Research Chair in Child and Adolescent Mental Health, which we’re launching in conjunction with the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Alberta and Alberta Health Services.
Q: What is the Associate Minister’s background?
His background is in social work and his daughter is actually doing her residency as a pediatrician at the U of A.
Q: What’s new with the FamilySmart® program?
Lori Erickson has started as a Parent-In-Residence (PiR) in our day programs. Lori is a mom with lived experience, and her children were in one of the day programs some time ago. I think she’s going to be an absolute asset in helping families access resources in partnership with our clinical staff. Candace Fehr stepped down as the other PiR because it was decided it may conflict with her role as Co-Chair of the CASA Family Advisory Council, so the Institute of Families will be looking for another PiR.
Q: Any news on future events in the Dr. Roger Bland Lecture Series?
We’ve signed off on our contract with the Telus World of Science so that’s done, and all the dates are now set.