Wednesday, Dec 28, 2016
By Laura Fulda
The first time I heard the sound of a bell ringing in the hallway at Child Advocates, I couldn’t figure out why everyone had suddenly stopped working and started clapping, cheering and using noise makers.
“What’s going on? Why is everyone so happy?” I asked my coworker.
"Every time a bell rings, a child gets a CASA!” she replied.
Child Advocates recruits, trains and supports Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs), to work one-on-one with children in the foster care system. CASAs provide critical emotional and educational support, ensuring that each child’s needs are met and their voice is heard while they are in the dependency system.
A ringing bell means a child will now have a caring, consistent adult presence in his/her life - someone who puts that child first, no matter what.
CASAs spend 10 to 12 hours a month with their advocate child doing some of the following activities:
· Talking with their advocate child, listening to his or her experiences and feelings.
· Spending time with their advocate child, participating in activities he or she enjoys.
· Reading and reviewing case files about their advocate child.
· Talking with their advocate child’s foster parents as well as teachers, social workers and attorneys who work with the child’s case in order to have a more complete picture of the child’s situation.
· Working with social services or their child’s school to address a specific need.
· Talking with their CASA Specialist or Mentor to get help and guidance with any issues or questions they encounter while advocating for their child.
Currently, CASAs serve approximately 800 children in the Santa Clara County foster care system. But there are still hundreds of children waiting for a CASA.
If you’d like to find out more about becoming a CASA, read our frequently asked questions and sign up for a Volunteer Info Session to learn more. And tell your friends if you think they’d be interested in becoming a CASA. We want to hear our bell ring a lot more in 2017!