Strategic Plan

FY24 - FY26

Moving to Excellence for Youth in Foster Care

With the convergence of several key opportunities, now is the time to make transformative change for the children and youth we serve. Over the next three years, Child Advocates will provide inclusive, responsive, and trauma-informed services to every youth. We will center racial equity and create greater access for people with lived experience to influence those who shape policy and practice.


Reach Every Youth

Provide an advocate for every youth in foster care.

Our Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) services are available to every child and youth in foster care in Santa Clara County, no matter their ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, whether they have run away, or if they are placed in settings outside the County.

How we get there

  1. Develop CASA advocacy models and Programming to serve youth placed in settings outside of Santa Clara County, accounting for differences such as geographic distances and advocacy strategies in other counties. Ensure all youth have full access to the range of resources and support offered by CASA Programs.
  2. Continue to refine and improve pre-service training and continuing education for CASAs to reflect the best practices in pedagogy, research, evidence-based practices, and trauma-informed and healing centered training, while meeting National CASA Standards.
  3. Improve access to child-specific data to support CASA Volunteers in understanding the child’s/youth’s experience, strengths, and needs. As a standard practice, use CASA Connect to provide this information in a way that is easily accessible and available in real time to CASA Volunteers.


Serve Deeply & Effectively

Achieve greater impact by enhancing services to be fully inclusive, responsive, and trauma informed.

We achieve greater impact by more deeply addressing the specific and diverse needs of children and youth. With support from a wide range of community partners, all services are provided in a way that is inclusive of and responsive to children’s unique backgrounds and identities and demonstrates an understanding of the impact of trauma and the need for healing.

How we get there

  1. Continue to utilize outcomes data to better understand youth needs, inform program design, and measure youth development.
  2. Develop a specialized CASA cohort, composed of experienced CASA Volunteers, which will receive additional training and support to advocate for children and youth with specialized needs (e.g., those who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation, those with more severe trauma histories, etc.).
  3. Continue commitment to recruit, train and support CASA Volunteers who reflect the ethnicity, primary language, sexual orientation, and gender identity of the children and youth in care through targeted marketing campaigns.
  4. Deepen Child Advocates leadership and engagement in the Dependency Wellness Court (DWC) to strengthen the CASAs abilities to advocate for the child/youth and improve the opportunities for reunification.
  5. Improve outcomes for Non-Minor Dependents (NMDs) by creating and implementing innovative intervention models for NMDs, with more intensive intervention for those who are failing to thrive. Integrate CASA Volunteers into the intervention to ensure engagement, support and mentoring and create specialized training for these CASA Volunteers.
  6. Develop an integrated wellness program for teens and NMDs to meet their social, physical, and mental health goals ensuring their ability to thrive.
  7. Remodel The Store as a CASA Positive and Adverse Childhood Experiences (PACEs) intervention, incorporating the best practices for strengthening youth agency and self-esteem.
  8. Create a welcoming, culturally responsive, accessible kids’ club/youth lounge for CASAs and children/ youth to gather to study, do homework, play games, cook, attend workshops, hold youth leadership meetings, etc. Partner with community organizations and business to bring resources that could be valuable to youth and CASA Volunteers to the space on a regular basis to promote fun and learning.


Advocate for All

Advocate for a responsive, equitable service system for all child welfare involved families, children, and youth in our county.

We are proactive in identifying local, state, and national system trends and advocating for strategic responses to benefit the children and youth we serve. We center racial equity by seeking to understand and address disproportionality and disparity in child welfare outcomes, and we create greater access for people with lived experience to influence those who shape policy and practice.

How we get there

  1. Develop and implement a comprehensive Diversity, Equity and Inclusion plan that meets National CASA Standards that inform all agency principles, practices, and operations.
  2. Create a plan to center the lived experience of our foster youth in influencing Child Advocate’s programming, as well as broader policy and systems change. As part of the plan, engage youth in expanding culturally responsive activities and practices to ensure events, incentives, and store items reflect the diverse ethnicity, primary language, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability of children and youth in foster care and are trauma informed and healing practices.
  3. Create an advocacy agenda that positions Child Advocates for influence. Identify and track key national, state, and local opportunities to influence policy change, policy implementation, and systems improvement related to children and youth in foster care. Position Child Advocates to be a member of and/or key leader in these initiatives/efforts, including California CASA. Engage the Santa Clara county community in dialogues that raise awareness of the critical issues facing foster kids.