What We Do

Our Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Program

The goal of our Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Program is to ensure every child in the Santa Clara County Dependency Court System (foster care) has a caring, stable adult in their life to mitigate the effects of having experienced abuse, neglect, and/or abandonment.

As an affiliate of the National Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Association, we are responsible for adhering to the national guidelines when training, recruiting and supporting CASA Volunteers in Santa Clara County.

A Responsibility We Take Seriously

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.

A CASA Volunteer’s advocacy can change the life trajectory of a child in foster care.

It is our job to ensure our CASA Volunteers are the right people for the job and receive the training and support needed to succeed. To become a CASA Volunteer, candidates are required to attend an info session, participate in face-to-face interviews, pass an extensive background check and attend 30 hours of training (18 hours in person and 12 hours online). Only then are they able to select and get appointed to a case and begin their advocacy.

Our CASA Volunteers Show Up, Stand Up & Lift Up.

Once appointed to a case, our CASA Volunteers are expected and supported to:

Mentor

Our CASA Volunteers are encouraged to be a stable, caring adult for the child they serve; they build a one-to-one trusted relationship and consistently show up by planning weekly in- person visits and activities.

Advocate

Our CASA Volunteers are expected to advocate for the child’s best interests within the foster care system, ensuring the child gets the services and resources they’re entitled to and would benefit from. Regardless of the issue, CASA volunteers have to stand up for the child they serve.

Be a Voice

Our CASA Volunteers submit written reports directly to the court and can attend hearings to speak on behalf of the child before the judge. These reports assist the judge in making decisions that will hopefully lift up the child.

Studies show children with a CASA Volunteer receive more educational and health services; are more likely to find a safe, permanent home; perform better in school; and spend less time in foster care than children without a CASA Volunteer.

Giving Children the Support They Need

In addition to adhering to the national guidelines, we have identified and dedicated resources to eight specialty areas of support to better serve our children. We believe the resources we provide in these 8 specialty areas can be instrumental in helping a CASA Volunteer when helping a child overcome the effects of having experienced trauma.

Specialty Areas