FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 18, 2021
CONTACT: Gustavo Caraveo | Gustavo@childadvocatessv.org
MILPITAS, CA — Child Advocates of Silicon Valley is proud to celebrate the graduation of 81 Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Volunteers via Zoom on Tuesday, February 16, 2021. This class of graduating CASAs was the largest graduating class in the agency’s history and included a diverse mix of recruits. Multiple ethnicities were well represented and the age of the candidates ranged from early 20s to early 70s.
“Ensuring the diversity of our volunteers reflects our community and the children we serve is important to us,” stated Frederick J. Ferrer, CEO of Child Advocates. “We believe the diversity of the class, plus the enthusiasm the new CASAs demonstrated throughout the training, will lead to a more enriching experience for the children we serve. We are grateful that so many community members are committed to helping our kids.”
Before being sworn-in, all CASA Volunteers are required to complete 30 hours of pre-service training that includes a combination of self-paced online courses and virtual presentations ranging in various topics including inclusionary practices and child development. Upon completion, CASA Volunteers are sworn-in by the Honorable Judge Shawna Schwarz.
This event marks the fourth pre-service training and ceremony that Child Advocates hosts virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although Child Advocates has adapted to an all virtual platform for almost a year, the agency is committed to making pre-service training more appealing and accessible to potential candidates.
“To make training more convenient, we will be offering our regular evening and popular morning training sessions this spring,” said Daisy Manapsal, Director of Learning at Child Advocates. “Training begins April 27, and we’re excited that community members are already attending virtual info sessions to begin their advocacy journey this spring.”
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.