FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 25, 2021
CONTACT: Gustavo Caraveo | Gustavo@childadvocatessv.org
MILPITAS, CA — Child Advocates of Silicon Valley is proud to celebrate the graduation of 47 Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Volunteers via Zoom on Tuesday, August 24, 2021, after completing 30 hours of virtual pre-service training.
“With everything constantly changing, consistency is very important in a child’s life. For our children, CASAs are that one consistent adult,” stated Frederick J. Ferrer, CEO of Child Advocates. “We are grateful that individuals in our community recognize the need and are committed to making a difference.”
Prior to being sworn in, all CASA Volunteers are required to complete pre-service training that includes a combination of self-paced online courses and virtual presentations ranging in various topics including inclusionary practices, child development and the Dependency Court System. Upon completion, CASA Volunteers are then sworn in through a “virtual” swearing-in ceremony by the Honorable Judge Shawna Schwarz.
Volunteers need no special background or experience to serve as Advocates. Each Advocate undergoes a thorough training process and is supported by Child Advocates staff once matched to a youth or sibling set. No matter the age of the youth, a CASA Volunteer mentors, advocates and ensures the child’s voice is heard while in foster care.
“I’m excited to be a CASA so that I can advocate in a deeper, longer-lasting way,” said a new CASA. “I’ll get to learn from the youth I work with and learn all about aspects of their life. Additionally, I can work closely with the youth and the rest of their support system to co-develop solutions to the challenges they face. I want to make sure I use my position to lift up their voice.”
As the world slowly begins to open back up, there is still a need for more Advocates. Child Advocates is committed to making pre-service training appealing and accessible to potential recruits.
“With every class, we continue to make adjustments to enhance our candidates’ experience,” said Daisy Manapsal, Director of Learning at Child Advocates. “Our pre-service training will be offered in the evening, after work hours, beginning October 12 this fall.”
Child Advocates is responsible for operating the CASA program in Santa Clara County according to the National CASA Association 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.
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 responsible for operating the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Program in Santa Clara County, which entails recruiting, training and supporting CASA Volunteers according to the National CASA Association standards. To learn more, please visit ChildAdvocatesSV.org.
About the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Program
The first Court Appointed Special Advocate (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.