CASA Crisis Plan
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Oklahoma County, Inc. works to provide trained volunteers to advocate on behalf of children in foster care in Oklahoma County. CASA provides a trained, caring adult who seeks out the individual best interests for children who have been removed from their home due to abuse or neglect. Volunteers get to know the children they represent and communicate with all parties in the child’s case and life to provide information and sound, unbiased recommendations for the court. Annually, there are more than 9,000 Oklahoma children in foster care. CASA serves the most difficult of the abuse and neglect cases in Oklahoma County. Although these cases are under the jurisdiction of Oklahoma County, the children may be placed in foster homes all across the state.
CASA sought help in building a proactive crisis plan in order to better prepare for a number of crises that could arise at any point in the future. CASA recognized the high potential for crisis experiences for their organization and desired help preparing in advance of an issue arising. As they are continuously dealing with the welfare of children and actively using volunteers to enact their mission, ensuring preparedness for any and all potential circumstances they could encounter is of utmost importance.
Koch Communications began by hosting a discovery meeting with CASA, where the goal was to identify stakeholders, classify potential problems and their stimuli, and prioritize the importance and severity of these problems. Following the discovery meeting, Koch Comm distributed a crisis assessment survey to key stakeholders to gauge severity of the crises which could occur and any potential impacts on the business, finances, human capital and reputation. This survey clarified how key stakeholders ranked certain potential crises as well as identified discrepancies among those stakeholders’ rankings of impact in the categories outlined above.
Identification of potential liabilities and crises is highly important when creating a crisis communication plan. Because of this, communication with key stakeholders was paramount and learning about the organization and its past efforts/crises became necessary. Upon analyzing the information collected through the discovery meeting, survey and following conversations, a formal crisis communication plan was created.
The developed plan provided an integrated approach to internal and external communications across various channels as well as guidance on crisis communication practices. The plan included identifying potential vulnerabilities, identifying the active crisis communication team and spokespeople, selecting emergency operation centers, assessing current business situations, building a communications matrix and social media response tool, prepping external and internal crisis responses, identifying audiences and developing appropriate distribution channels.
Koch Comm delivered a fully-prepared and well-thought out crisis communication plan that not only identified potential crises but also allowed for flexibility in the event of new crises that may not have been in the original plan. It created guidelines and proactive plan to help the client be better prepared should any crises occur. This plan also identified the appropriate measures to take and where to share information, such as social media, when warranted. Additionally, by identifying potential crises, Koch Comm enabled the client to focus on areas of improvement with internal processes and proactive crisis prevention. The crisis communication plan was well-received and has been adopted by the client.
The overall result of the development of the crisis communication plan is a more prepared organization. Ultimately, it results in peace of mind for leadership and a better-prepared staff, as well as knowledge and understanding of potential crises and areas for monitoring and business development.