The health and safety of our staff, CASA volunteers, children, partners and community is of the utmost importance to Child Advocates of Silicon Valley. We have been closely monitoring the latest news pertaining to the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and are taking measures in line with recommendations from the County of Santa Clara’s Public Health Department that promote the health and well being of our staff, volunteers, children and community.
In accordance with the Santa Clara County Public Health Department Order, Child Advocates of Silicon Valley is:
- closing its offices and store and instructing staff to work remotely for the duration of the order. CASA Specialists are available to answer any questions or concerns via email during regular business hours. If an issue arises outside of business hours, please use our CASA After Hours Emergency Line: 408-761-3437.
- advising CASA volunteers to NOT schedule any in-person visits with their advocate child/youth for the duration of the order. Should there be any extenuating circumstances about your need to visit your advocate child/youth, please contact your CASA Specialist at 408-761-3437.
- asking CASA volunteers to maintain constant connection with their advocate child/youth by increasing the number of times you connect virtually (phone calls, texts, Face times, etc.). During this time, our children/youth will have questions and/or fears and will need the caring support of their CASA volunteer.
- having every CASA supervisor reach out to their CASA volunteers to conduct a needs assessment of the child/youth they serve. Child Advocates will then use these assessments to connect CASA volunteers with the resources they need to support their child/youth during this challenging time.
We expect to update this guide regularly as new resources and advice become available; however, as always, please contact your CASA Supervisor if you have any questions or concerns.
Remote Advocacy Updates and Resources
Court Hearing and Proceedings
The Santa Clara County Dependency Court is placing most cases on continuance for hearings. If you have an upcoming hearing, your specialist will send you an email with an update on its status. For cases not placed on continuance, the Court has created a virtual court process; our Court Liaison will assist you with participating in this process.
It is important for the well being of our children that CASA volunteers continue to complete and submit their court reports. If you have concerns about your ability to complete your report, please contact your CASA Supervisor as soon as possible.
Child Family Teams (CFTs)
The Santa Clara County Department of Family and Children Services is currently holding CFTs virtually (mainly by phone). All CASA should continue to receive the CFT notice. At the top in red it says that it’s a telephonic conference. If you choose to participate, you should write back to ALL on that email and state your name, connection (CASA for XXXXX), and ask to be called at XXX-XXX-XXXX when the CFT begins. This will ensure your inclusion in the CFT.
Immediate Needs Form
Our children and our families are among the hardest hit during this time. We want to support and respond to critical needs when they arise by doing what we do as CASAs: meet the immediate need and then connect to local resources for ongoing support.
These are the top 10 critical needs of our families that we’ve developed a response for:
- Clothing/toiletries/other essential needs
- Rental Assistance
- School Supplies
- Cell Phones
If your child or the family they’re placed with is in immediate needs of any of the aforementioned items, please fill out this form. A CASA Supervisor will reach out to you after your submission.
Ongoing Support/Community Resources
The City of San Jose and our partners at the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley and at FIRST 5 Santa Clara County created useful COVID-19 Resource Guides. You can use these guides to find local resources where families can continue to garner community support for: financial assistance, food, benefits, housing, medical care and mental health, education and other needs.
As the CASA, you know best what resources are needed and we trust you to direct families appropriately.
Below is a list of virtual activities and ideas you can try out with your child/youth during the COVID-19 shelter in place order.
- Create a vision board: The CASA volunteer or the caregiver can provide the child with pictures from a magazine that reflect the child’s feelings or future aspirations. Then the CASA volunteer and their child can assemble it together via FaceTime or Skype and plan to share it once in-person visits resume.
- Scavenger hunts: Working with the caregiver, create a list of items that the child can find in the home, then provide the child riddles or clues over the phone so that they identify and then find the item.
- FaceTime/Skype: Communicate via FaceTime or Skype. Activities could include reading an age-appropriate book to your child, or have them read to you; playing 20 questions; having lunch; playing board games, etc., over FaceTime or Skype.
- Pen pals: Send the child stationery and self-addressed stamped envelopes (to the Child Advocates mailing address – 509 Valley Way Building 2, Milpitas, CA, 95035) and have the child write you letters. We are collecting mail weekly and will forward any letters we receive to the CASA volunteer’s home.
- Coloring books: Get matching coloring books for you and your child and color the same picture, possibly while online together, to send each other or to compare once in-person visits resume.
- Virtual spa day: You and your child give yourselves an at-home face mask, manicure, or pedicure over FaceTime or Skype.
- Kindoma Storytime: This iPhone/iPad app allows for users to read stories while video chatting. The free app comes with access to 10 books; after that, users can buy stories individually or through a subscription. The books target children ages 3 to 6. Kindoma.com is also beta testing two new apps, Kindoma Drawtime and Kindoma Talktime.
- Interview practice: For older youth, CASA volunteers can research potential job interview questions and help their youth practice interviewing over the phone.
- Virtual movies: Watch the same age-appropriate movie on television or computer and then discuss it over the phone, either during or after the movie.
- Tutorials: Watch the same YouTube tutorial video, either independently or together via a split screen on FaceTime, and plan to practice your new skill together later.
- Museum Tours: Go on a virtual tour of a famous museum and then each decide on a painting to recreate or put your own spin on.
- Missed Activities: Ask older children about the experiences, such as field trips and dances, that they are missing due to COVID-19 precautions and brainstorm ways to recreate, either virtually or once restrictions are lifted.
- 49ers EDU Playbook: Inside the playbook you will learn activities for K-8th grade students. Activities are all aligned with Common Core and NGSS, and bring STEAM subjects to life through the lens of 49ers football and Levi’s® Stadium.
Thanks to our sister agency, Voices for Children, for creating and sharing this list of virtual activities and ideas.
If you have any questions or concerns about the activities outlined above, please contact your CASA supervisor.