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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 of Santa Cruz is seeing more children under the age of three years entering the foster care system. This is where CASA comes in: We recruit, screen, train, and supervise 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 is the only organization with volunteers officially sworn in by the Court, acting as advocates for our area’s youth.
When a case opens in Dependency Court, the focus is on the parents/caregivers gaining resources to help meet their case plan, but a CASA volunteer focuses on the child. While they may support the entire family, their priority is the child. Advocates are assigned to the child’s case until the child is placed in a safe, permanent home and the case is dismissed.
“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.
My Advocate has been there for all of the major milestones since we met, including the birth of my child. She's my person.
Danielle, a young woman who was in dependency care for most of her youth