Child Advocates Swears In 30 Advocates for Foster Youth 


CONTACT: Gustavo Caraveo |   

MILPITAS, CA — Child Advocates of Silicon Valley proudly swore in 30 new Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Volunteers at the agency’s main office in Milpitas on Tuesday, March 19, 2024,  

All graduates completed 30 hours of pre-service training in a hybrid format with in-person and virtual presentations on various topics, including child development and outcomes planning. Additionally, the graduates attended a mandatory tour of the court. The training process concluded on Tuesday evening with a swear-in ceremony by the honorable Shawna Schwarz, the supervising judge of the County of Santa Clara  Dependency Court. 

“I learned so much in my CASA training. Learning about what our youth go through in the dependency system opened my eyes. It lit an even bigger fire within me to be that caring, consistent adult in a youth’s life that shows up for them,” expressed the new graduate and elected class speaker, Audrey Voss.

Child Advocates carefully tailors each class’ pre-service training to meet the evolving needs of the foster youth entering the Santa Clara County Dependency Court System, better known as foster care. The graduating class programming was enhanced by specialized trainings related to the lived experience of foster youth and ongoing concerns related to disproportionality in Santa Clara County’s foster care.

To address the needs of the foster children on the waitlist for a CASA Volunteer, Child Advocates seeks to diversify its pool of CASAs by recruiting more male, bilingual, Spanish-speaking and LGBTQ+ volunteers. This particular class is set to address some of these areas with six bilingual Spanish speakers, seven advocates who identify as male and five who identify as LGBTQ+.

“With every pre-service training, we look to continuously improve the curriculum to aid the recruits in their advocacy once they become CASAs,” said Child Advocates CEO Frederick J. Ferrer. “This training included a lived-experience panel, which allowed our CASA candidates to hear first-hand perspectives from a current CASA, caregiver, social worker and former foster youth.

Volunteers are not required to have a particular background or experience to serve as CASA. Each CASA 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 mentors, advocates, and ensures the child’s voice is heard while in foster care.

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   

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.