In San Bernardino County, there are over 5,000 children and youth living in foster care. They are not only victims of abuse and neglect, but as a result have been removed from their homes and family and placed into foster care. Left with little or no consistent guiding presence in their lives, they are often lost, confused, and alone. Sadly, they then must learn how to survive and navigate the complicated and overburdened child welfare system.
But they don't have to do it alone.
Every day Court Appointed Special Advocates (C.A,S,A,) volunteers mentor and advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in the courtroom, the classroom, and the health care system. Volunteer advocates—empowered directly by the courts—offer judges the critical information they need to ensure that each child’s rights and needs are being attended to while in foster care. Volunteers become the voice for their appointed child. For many of our foster children, a C.A.S.A. volunteer is the only constant adult presence in their lives that is inspiring them, challenging them and motivating them as they navigate through the child welfare system together, hand in hand. We currently have a waitlist of over 250 youth, we need your help. Volunteer today!
To improve the quality of life for foster youth, juvenile care youth, and foster care alumni with stable and consistent mentoring, advocacy, and supportive services.
To advocate on behalf of all abused and neglected children and youth throughout San Bernardino County.
The C.A.S.A. concept was first envisioned in 1977 when a Seattle Washington Juvenile Court Judge believed that trained and sworn volunteers could provide children and youth in the child welfare system with the advocacy they needed in order to avoid languishing in inappropriate group or foster homes. By 1984, the benefits of the program reached Judge Patrick Morris with the San Bernardino County Juvenile Dependency Court, who established “Child Advocates of San Bernardino County” a C.A.S.A. program to serve the growing numbers of children entering the County’s child welfare system. Since then, advocacy services have expanded to include both healthcare and education systems advocacy.
C.A.S.A. of San Bernardino County volunteers have positively impacted the lives of thousands of at-risk youth since its founding – assuring children’s voices are heard in the courtroom; that decisions made about them includes their input; that their physical and mental health are top priorities; and that their educational rights are at the heart of their school experience. And, because of our long history and solid reputation in the community, we are also heavily involved with a variety of child-serving groups and agencies which ensure that child welfare youth have a voice at the decision-making and policy levels.
C.A.S.A. of San Bernardino County recruits, screens and trains community members just like you to serve as C.A.S.A. volunteers for children and youth currently living in foster care. C.A.S.A volunteers provide stability and hope to abused and neglected children by adding a powerful voice in their lives. A C.A.S.A. volunteer:
- Establishes a strong and stable relationship with a child
- Gathers information, writes reports, and make recommendations in the best interest of the child
- Advocates to ensure the child receives the appropriate resources that he or she deserves
You too can be the voice for children who need it the most.
If not you, who? If not together, how? If not now, when?