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CASA of Santa Cruz

Organization Mission

CASA of Santa Cruz County advocates for children, providing Court-appointed volunteers so each child in the Dependency Court system feels cared for and connected with the people, families, and resources they need to heal and flourish into adulthood.

CASA empowers volunteers to directly influence life-changing decisions affecting children in dependency (foster) care. CASA is the sole organization with volunteers officially sworn in by the Court, acting as advocates for our area’s youth.

The Big Idea:
Advocating for Foster Youth in Santa Cruz County

COVID is affecting all of us, but children in foster care are especially vulnerable to abuse and neglect. CASA volunteers make sure these children are protected from the isolation that comes with this pandemic. Children in foster care rely on members of their community to ensure they aren’t left behind as the world shelters in place.

CASA recruits, screens, trains, and supervises Volunteer Advocates to work one-on-one with children and their families to support reunification or permanent placement into a safe and healthy home. Advocates get to know their child’s situation and needs, help caregivers access resources to meet those needs, and advocate for the child’s best interests in Court, community, and school settings.

They build strong relationships with the family and work with a CASA Advocate Supervisor to create an Advocacy Plan for their child. They provide regular reports to the Court which the Judge relies upon to inform life-changing decisions for children in foster care.

Our Advocates understand that children experience great trauma as a result of entering the foster care system, and provide them with a warm layer of support, and connect them to resources to benefit their development and well-being.

“CASA children” have a higher rate of adoption than those without an Advocate, 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.

Without Allie (her court appointed advocate), I wouldn’t have graduated from high school, wouldn’t be in cosmetology school, and wouldn’t be living on my own. Without her showing me the way, I just wouldn’t have seen those options.

Jessie (former foster youth)