Each year, approximately 1,300 abused or neglected children and youth in Contra Costa County come under the court's care because they are unable to live safely at home. Imagine what it would be like to be removed from your parents, not because of something you did, but because they cannot, or will not, take care of and protect you. Then into the lives of these children and youth come dozens of strangers: police, foster parents, social workers, judges, lawyers and more. For some, one of these may be a Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) volunteer.
Because of the enormous number of cases filed in juvenile court and dwindling resources to adequately investigate cases, judges are often compelled to make permanency-planning decisions based on less than complete or objective information. This is where a CASA volunteer can and does make a difference.
CASA volunteers advocate one-on-one for abused and neglected children and youth in foster care to make sure they do not get lost in the over-burdened legal system or languish in an inappropriate placement. They are their voice in court and speak up for the child or youth’s best interests during the dependency process. Volunteers help reduce delays and continuances and stay with each case until it is closed and the child or youth is placed in a safe, permanent home. CASA volunteers visit weekly with the child or youth, and maintain ongoing communication with all parties involved in the case to best serve the child or youth's interests. For the volunteer, this means a commitment of a minimum of one year and an average of 15-20 hours per month of service.
In addition to our services for abused and neglected children and youth, the National CASA Association works to provide community education and awareness concerning the issues of child abuse, neglect and child welfare policy. It is also committed to working towards public policies that promote child abuse prevention and address reforms in the juvenile dependency and foster care systems.
The Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) provides programs to support abused and neglected children in foster care to help every child find a permanent home and complete their education.
In support of our mission, CASA of Contra Costa County is committed to:
- CASA volunteer program recruits, trains, and supports volunteers to be a voice for foster children during the court process.
- CASA therapy program works in partnership with A Home Within to provide teletherapy to foster youth throughout California.
- CASA tutoring program recruits, trains, and supports volunteers with educational backgrounds to provide tutoring services to our foster children.
- CASA juvenile justice program recruits, trains and supports volunteers to work with youth in the juvenile justice system (who are also foster youth) to ensure compliance with probation requirements and complete their education.
- CASA reproductive health program works in partnership with the Department of Public Health, and Children and Family Services to provide reproductive health care to foster youth.