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CASA: Court Appointed Special Advocates

Organization Mission

CASA of Santa Cruz County is expanding its advocacy from youth in Dependency Court (foster care) to those involved in the Juvenile Justice system.

The Big Idea 2023:
Serving Youth Involved in Justice

CASA of Santa Cruz County is expanding advocacy from youth in foster care (the Dependency Court system) to include youth in the Juvenile Justice system.

CASA recruits, screens, trains, and supervises volunteer Advocates. After extensive training, a background check, and swearing in by the court, Advocates get to know their child’s situation and needs, help caregivers access resources, and advocate for the child’s best interests. For older youth, an Advocate acts as a mentor and guide, assisting with life skills, and for justice-involved youth, this includes completing the terms of their probation.

CASA Advocates build strong relationships with the youth and their family. They provide regular reports to the court which the Judge relies upon to inform life-changing decisions for children in foster care and/or probation.

Youth with a CASA are less likely to return to the system, are substantially less likely to spend time in long-term foster care, and are more likely to become healthy adults who break the cycle of abuse.

Often when people hear 'foster youth,' they don't hear 'resilience' as an option. But having CASA in my life has always left me an opportunity for resilience. Every time I've needed help, it’s been given to me.


Anonymous, 22-year-old former foster youth