FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 22, 2022
CONTACT: Gustavo Caraveo | Gustavo@childadvocatessv.org
MILPITAS, CA — Child Advocates of Silicon Valley is proud to celebrate the graduation of 42 Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Volunteers via Zoom on Tuesday, February 22, 2022.
“With every class we graduate, more foster youth and children are taken off our waiting list and are paired with a caring adult who will be there to advocate for them,” stated Frederick J. Ferrer, CEO of Child Advocates. “This winter class seems especially eager to get started with their advocacy and we can’t wait to get them assigned. “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.
CASA Volunteers are not required to have a 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.
“My story is different than most, but I survived my unconventional childhood,” said recently sworn-in CASA, CJYoung. “I hope to be able to act as an example of someone who has had so many odds against them, but came through stronger and wise. And I want to show these children that someone who has walked a path similar to theirs is willing to walk that path again and again with them.”
Although more foster children will soon be off our waitlist with this new class, there is still a need for more Advocates, more specifically bilingual Spanish-speaking and LGBTQ+ community members. Nevertheless, Child Advocates is dedicated to making pre-service training appealing and accessible to potential recruits.
“We continue to make adjustments to enhance our candidates’ experience with every class,” said Jasmine Scott, Learning Manager at Child Advocates. “Spring pre-service training recruits have the option to attend our Tuesday evening sessions or join our accelerated Saturday sessions beginning this April.”
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.