To train and support community volunteers who advocate for abused and neglected children placed in foster care, upholding the children's rights while pursuing a safe and permanent home.
More than 400 children are in Monterey County foster care, and many of them have frequently suffered physical or sexual abuse, severe neglect or maltreatment. They often find themselves forced to navigate a confusing legal system. Each Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) is a volunteer trained to build a genuine friendship with one foster child and help with the particular challenges they face (e.g. educational, medical, home placement). Through the guidance of staff, personalized information can then be submitted to the Dependency Court judge so they are better equipped to make informed decisions about the child. A CASA volunteer is a safe person for a child facing an uncertain situation, and the Big Idea is to expand the training for these volunteers.
CASA put mentors into my life when I first entered foster care to help me process my past trauma and get back into a positive mindset. CASA gave me my first examples of healthy, gratifying relationships. My assigned CASA became my best friend growing up. There were no secrets between us. [My CASA] was always accessible to me and would drive long distances to neighboring counties just to take me out for food and check in. [He] played a huge role in making sure school was always a priority. He made sure I received tutoring. He helped me open my eyes to the true limitless potential I had within me and pivot me in a direction of growth, healing, and awareness of the world around me.