FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Nov 15, 2022
CONTACT: Gustavo Caraveo | Gustavo@childadvocatessv.org
MILPITAS, CA — Child Advocates of Silicon Valley is proud to celebrate the graduation of 32 Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Volunteers in person at the Milpitas office on Tuesday, November 15, 2022. This ceremony marks the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic that CASA Volunteers could attend the swearing-in ceremony in person.
“Having our swear-in ceremony resume in person, filled with a room of enthusiastic recruits, brought a palpable energy to the room and excitement for the advocacy work ahead,” stated Frederick J. Ferrer, CEO of Child Advocates.
CASA Volunteers are sworn in by the Honorable Judge Shawna Schwarz to conclude the completion of 30 hours of pre-service training that includes a combination of self-paced online courses and hybrid in-person and virtual presentations on various topics, including advocacy planning and child development. At the swearing-in ceremony, CASA Volunteers receive more individual recognition in front of their loved ones and staff members.
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.
“We are thankful that individuals in our community recognize the need and are committed to making a difference in the life of a foster child,” said Ferrer.
Although 32 foster children will soon be off our waitlist with this new class, there is still a need for more Advocates. These, more specifically, bilingual Spanish-speaking and male-identifying community members are willing to be matched to a youth that currently lives out-of-county. Child Advocates is dedicated 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 Jasmine Scott, Learning Manager at Child Advocates of Silicon Valley. “Our winter pre-service training will be offered in the evening, after work hours, beginning February.”
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.