California Casa Releases 2019/2020 Impact Report: Stronger Together
California CASA announced today that it has published its 2019/2020 Impact Report, which reinforces the organization’s mission as it relates to helping serve the over 83,000 youth in California’s foster care system, local CASA programs, and Court Appointed Special Advocates. This year’s report also focuses on the unique actions the organization took in the wake of unprecedented challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“During this exceptional year, the 44 CASA programs in our state experienced first-hand how difficult it was, at times, for children in foster care to get their basic needs met. California CASA also witnessed the dedication and resiliency of CASA staff, boards, and volunteers in their outstanding support of youth who have experienced abuse and neglect,” said CA CASA CEO Sharon M. Lawrence, Esq. “The 2019/2020 Impact Report showcases the strength of our network and the potential to serve even more children by recruiting, training, and overseeing a growing and more diverse group of volunteer advocates in each county.”
The title of this year’s report – Stronger Together – underscores the cooperative relationship of California CASA and the variety of community members that come together to care for children across the state. In the midst of these tumultuous times, California CASA’s flexibility enabled the organization to operate exceptionally in an environment where county and state guidelines shifted in unpredictable ways. This purposeful approach was enhanced by dedicated CASA staff and volunteers at individual CASA programs adapting to ever changing dependency court and public health requirements that impacted advocates and the youth they are connected to.
The report looks at the how California CASA managed a wide range of initiatives to strengthen the service, quality, and impact of Court Appointed Special Advocates around the state.
Summary of 2019/2020 Impact in California:
14,150 children in California foster had the support of a CASA volunteer.
8,798 Court Appointed Special Advocates worked on behalf of children.
$17.6M+ worth of volunteer service hours were provided by CASA volunteers to foster youth.
6,628 hours of technical assistance were provided by California CASA to local CASA programs.
$8.5M+ in funding was facilitated by California CASA for local CASA programs.
2500 local CASA staff and volunteers attended California CASA webinar training sessions.
California CASA – a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization ensuring that children and youth in California’s foster care system have both a voice and the services they need for a stable future. California CASA connects the 44 county CASA programs in the state in order to raise awareness of the need for Court Appointed Special Advocates and provides support, advice, resources, and oversight to maintain high-quality programs that serve children’s best interests. California CASA is a member of the National CASA/GAL Association for Children.
More information about California Court Appointed Special Advocates Association can be found here: CaliforniaCASA.org.
The mission of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Santa Barbara County is to assure a safe, permanent, nurturing home for all abused and/or neglected children by providing a highly trained volunteer to advocate for them in the court system.
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From Donor to Volunteer
“By supporting CASA, you can change the trajectory of a child’s life. For me, investing in our youth is the most important thing we can do, because they are the most vulnerable.”
A CASA for Every Child
In 2018 and 2019, CASA of Santa Barbara County managed to pair every child in the county’s child welfare system with a trained, volunteer, court-appointed special advocate.
But in August 2019, overall numbers of children entangled with the dependency court have jumped from 520 to around 650, straining the agency’s capacity.
Executive Director Kim Colby Davis is undaunted by the challenge. After all, she and her board launched a plan to serve every child in 2013, which they accomplished ahead of schedule.
“The advantage is we have done this before,” Colby Davis says. “We hit our growth targets over the past five years. We know what to do and we will do it.”
For Colby Davis, the path to ensuring a CASA for every child is straightforward. She needs to hire 1.5 full-time staff and recruit 125 volunteers. The cost: $125,000.
Board of Directors
Virginia Benson Wigle