FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 12, 2020
CONTACT: Gustavo Caraveo | Gustavo@childadvocatessv.org
MILPITAS, CA — Child Advocates of Silicon Valley is proud to celebrate the graduation of 62 Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Volunteers via Zoom on Thursday evening. This class of graduating CASAs was by far the most diverse class Child Advocates of Silicon Valley has had in recent years. There were nearly 20 males sworn-in, multiple ethnicities were well represented and the age of the candidates ranged from early 20s to early 70s.
“This is a testament to the compassion and strength of Silicon Valley. Even during a pandemic, individuals in our community, from all walks of life, recognize the need to help our foster children and are willing to take on the challenge,” stated Frederick J. Ferrer, CEO of Child Advocates. “Ensuring the diversity of our volunteers reflects our community and the children we serve is critically important to us. By engaging this diverse class, we are able to fulfill our commitment to equity. We are grateful that we’ll be able to serve more children with the addition of these new CASAs.”
After completing 30 hours of pre-service training that included a combination of self-paced online classes and virtual presentations, ranging in topics from mandated reporting to child development and inclusionary practices, the recent CASA Volunteer graduates were sworn-in by the Honorable Judge Shawna Schwarz through a “virtual” swearing-in ceremony.
Typically, the pre-service training and ceremony would be held in person. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Child Advocates adapted to an online format to continue to serve more foster children.
“Going all online presented some challenges but our justice partners and staff, who participate in the training, stepped up and helped make it happen,” said Daisy Manapsal, Director of Learning at Child Advocates. “We received great feedback from our participants and we’re already preparing for our next virtual class starting July 30.”
As an affiliate of the National Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Association, Child Advocates is responsible for operating the CASA program in Santa Clara County according to the national guidelines, which entails recruiting, training and supporting CASA Volunteers. Child Advocates holds four to six training classes per year in an effort to recruit a CASA for every child placed in the Santa Clara County Dependency Court System. There are currently over 1,000 foster children in the system.
About Child Advocates of Silicon Valley
Child Advocates of Silicon Valley is an independent nonprofit 501 (c) 3 organization created in 1986. We serve children aged birth to 21 years old who are placed in the Santa Clara County Dependency Court System for having experienced trauma in the form of abuse, neglect and/or abandonment. We are also an affiliate of the National Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Association. As an affiliate, we are responsible for operating the CASA program in Santa Clara County according to the national guidelines, which entails recruiting, training and supporting CASA Volunteers. To learn more, please visit ChildAdvocatesSV.org.
About the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Program
The first CASA program in the nation was created in 1977 to ensure children in foster care, who have experienced abuse or neglect, have a trained volunteer speaking up in the courtroom for their best interests. All CASA Volunteers are trained community members who are appointed with a court order by a judge to advocate for the best interests of a child in foster care. They stay with each case for up to a year or until the case is closed and the child is in a safe, permanent home. CASA Volunteers work with legal and child welfare professionals, educators, service providers and family members to ensure the child’s voice is heard. Their advocacy enables judges to make the most well-informed decision for each child.