Network and Other News:
February 7, 2017
One Caring Adult
By Judge Leonard Edwards
It has been said that all a child needs is one caring adult in order to become a success in life. When a child is removed from home because of parental abuse or neglect or the child’s delinquent behavior, often the best path to a successful life involves one caring adult who acts as a mentor and a guide. If this is true, it contains an important message for juvenile court judges.
Judge Edwards is also the 2017 California CASA Champion honoree at the Lifting Hearts event on March 4th.
January 30, 2017
California CASA Association’s Statement Regarding Marin CASA Program
On January 9, 2017, the Supervising Judge for the Marin Unified Family Court and the Local Presiding Juvenile Court Judge made the joint decision to withdraw designation for the CASA program from the Marin Advocates for Children (MAC). The bench undertook a comprehensive inquiry into the issues and concluded “that MAC in its current posture is not the organization this court wishes to designate to recruit, select, train, supervise and support lay volunteers pursuant to CRC 5.655.”
California CASA Association worked hard in advance of this situation to try to help the various parties find common ground and identify a path forward. Unfortunately, through a series of board and volunteer resignations, funders sharing their concerns for long-term stability, and the escalation of internal conflicts to the general public, it became clear that both the bench and the broader community had lost confidence in MAC.
Since that time, California CASA has been working in partnership with community leaders, the bench, Marin Advocates for Children, funders, National CASA, and Marin Children and Family Services (CFS) to ensure that the CASA mission continues in Marin and that we minimize any disruption in service to children.
California CASA does not take any position on any allegations made, nor do we have any comment on the internal management issues of the organization. We have only one goal: to work in partnership with the Marin bench and community leaders to ensure CASA can continue to serve the court and the abused and neglected children who so critically need our support.
We are thankful for the commitment and ongoing dedication of our volunteers, funders and supporters to the mission of CASA.
John L. Lipp, CEO
California CASA Association
January 11, 2017
Walking into court for my very last time as a foster youth, I felt like I was getting a divorce from a system that I’ve been in a relationship with almost my entire life...
June 21, 2016
Family Reunification Day celebrates hope and hard work
By Louie Vega
Approximately 1,857 children are in Kern County’s foster care system living in out-of- home care, according to the Department of Human Services. As the supervising judge of the Kern County Superior Court’s Juvenile Division, along with judges Raymonda Marquez and William Palmer, I can tell you that these children come into our courtrooms due to no fault of their own. They come because they have suffered neglect or abuse at the hands of their parents. They range from newborn to over 17 years of age.
March 25, 2016
Special California Update: Congresswoman Karen Bass Leads Effort to Support CASA Advocacy
Dear California Colleagues,
We are writing to share with you exciting news as a result of our close partnership with California CASA Association and the outstanding efforts of local CASA programs across California.
Congresswoman Karen Bass (CA-37), Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth, led a bipartisan effort in Washington to support full funding of the CASA Program at the Congressionally-authorized level of $12 million. Congresswoman Bass co-led a group letter to the House Appropriations Committee, as she has also done in recent years, and this effort helped lead to the $3 million increase in CASA Program funding ($9 million total) in December's FY 2016 Omnibus Appropriations Act.
CASA Program federal funding, administered by National CASA Association in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), supports local CASA programs and state organizations across the country through national program standards, training, technical assistance and program support, quality assurance, national volunteer recruitment and brand awareness resources, and other tools and support in direct support of CASA/GAL advocacy in 49 states and the District of Columbia. Additionally, these funds made possible a $250,000 Growth Grant to California CASA in late 2015 for a statewide initiative to significantly increase the number of abused and neglected children served by local programs.
Please join us in thanking Congresswoman Bass for her support and spreading the word about her outstanding leadership on behalf of CASA programs in California and the child victims of abuse and neglect they serve. You can thank her here, call her office, or tweet @RepKarenBass. Be sure to forward this message to your contacts as well. Thank you for your commitment to the CASA mission and for the work that you do every day to change children's lives.
Chief Executive Officer, National CASA Association
Chief Executive Officer, California CASA Association
December 22, 2015
KQED Forum is running a series on foster care, with some CASA folks, and friends of CASA, as well as leaders in the Child Welfare field in California. Check them out below:
November 23, 2015
Patricia Miljanich: Child abuse victims need community help
By Patricia Miljanich - Special to the Mercury News
Right under the noses of professionals, foster parents and family members, a 4-year-old foster child was nearly murdered while in the care of her adult half-sister in the city of Santa Clara last year. Why didn't our child protection system protect this little girl from this unspeakable abuse? ...
October 29, 2015
California CASA wishes to extend its deep appreciation to Representative Karen Bass (D-CA) and the Senate Caucus on Foster Youth for their leadership in bringing attention to the needs of children, youth and young adults who are still in need of a Court Appointed Special Advocate to ensure their rights are protected, their health, education, social and permanency needs are met, and simply to provide a little friendship on this very difficult and disorienting journey that is foster care. Many thanks as well to National Court Appointed Special Advocates and to CASA of DC, CASA of Prince George’s County, Maryland CASA, and Virginia CASA – who spoke at the briefing.
Hill staff briefing on CASA/GAL Program a huge success
Last week, National CASA teamed up with DC metro area programs and state organizations – CASA of DC, CASA of Prince George’s County, Maryland CASA, and Virginia CASA – to hold a briefing in the Capitol to educate Congressional staff about the CASA/GAL program.
The Hill briefing was hosted by both the Senate Caucus on Foster Youth, and the House of Representatives’ Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth, which provide national leadership and attention in Congress to issues impacting abused and neglected children. The caucuses were eager to help us collectively educate congressional staff about the CASA/GAL program.
It was standing room only for the briefing attended by congressional staffers and child welfare & judicial partners, and held in the U.S. Capitol. Compelling CASA stories were delivered by a panel which included:
- Prince George’s County program director, Ann Marie Foley Binsner, and lead volunteer supervisor, Sarah Bosken, who talked about operating a program, including the recruitment and extensive training of volunteers, and examples of challenging cases and the impact of CASA volunteers on children and the court.
- Two former foster youth told their stories, and how their lives were changed because of CASA volunteers from Virginia and Maryland.
- DC CASA volunteer Lindsay Stearns, a Georgetown Law student, talked about building trust with her child, as a new CASA volunteer.
- DC CASA Senior Manager, Allison Kahn, talked about their work with older youth.
National CASA Association staff Sally Erny gave the national overview, and Cynthia Smith moderated. Representative Karen Bass (D-CA) gave remarks at the briefing. She has been a tremendous supporting of CASA/GAL programs and our federal funding campaign, including leading the Dear Colleague letter campaign in the House on full funding for the CASA program for FY 2016.
Also appearing to show support and give remarks was Representative Diane Black (R-TN-6), who spoke of her involvement in CASA even before she was elected to Congress.
Senator Grassley (R-IA) chairs the Senate Caucus on Foster Youth, but was chairing a Judiciary Committee hearing and not able to attend the briefing. He invited the panel to come to his hearing room after the briefing, where he greeted the group and took photographs.
Other Congressional support for the briefing included Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), who is co-chair of the Senate Caucus on Foster Youth.
The Congressional Briefing was a great demonstration of the ways National CASA is engaging Congress, our network, and our communities, towards ensuring that every abused or neglected child in need has a caring, consistent adult to advocate for his or her well-being.
Photos from the event have been posted to our Facebook page.
There was also a great deal of Twitter action, including sharing of a press release and photos from Senator Grassley’s office. Check our feed on Twitter.
October 28, 2015
California CASA extends its deep appreciation to Stanford Kappa Alpha Theta’s who raised more than $45,000 in support of Child Advocates of Silicon Valley! A record breaking 300+ people turned out for the 5K Run/Walk and 10K Run on Oct. 25, 2015. The monies will be used by Child Advocates of Silicon Valley to recruit, train and support Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) to work one-on-one with foster children in Santa Clara County. Thank you Stanford Kappa Alpha Theta for helping Child Advocates move closer to its goal of offering every child in the Santa Clara County dependency system the consistency, stability and hope that a CASA provides by year-end 2018! More can be found here https://childadvocatesofsv.wordpress.com/thetabreakers/
October 27, 2015
California College Pathways is pleased to share with you a landmark study - Charting the Course: Using Data to Support Foster Youth College Success - a landmark report that offers new insights into the educational experiences of foster youth attending community colleges and universities throughout the state by providing information on a common set of academic progress and outcome measures.
In addition to the full report, there is a one-page overview on key findings. If you would like more information, please visit their website at www.cacollegepathways.org.
October 5, 2015
California CASA is pleased to announce that it is the proud recipient of a one-year $250,000 State Growth Grant from National Court Appointed Special Advocates (NCASA)! This grant includes pass-through funding to local CASA demonstration projects, support for a Policy Advocate position, as well as other initiatives that will ensure more foster children benefit from the support and service of a CASA volunteer The process was extremely competitive requiring 100% support and sign off by every CASA director in the state. The review panel included eight individuals; two state directors, two local directors, and four National CASA representatives with only 3 state organizations (California, Oregon, and Georgia) receiving an award. We are so proud to have been selected!
NCASA growth grants were made as strategic investments in state organizations that have a compelling plan for significantly growing the numbers of children served statewide. Our grant proposal complements our 15,000 by 2020 plan to ensure more of California’s foster children, youth, and young adults have access to a CASA. Targeted branding, marketing, and policy strategies included in this plan will facilitate growth from 11,000 children served in 2014 to over 13,000 with a CASA in 2017, and 15,000 by 2020.
CASA of Los Angeles County, Voices for Children San Diego and Riverside County, and a collaboration of 10 local Bay Area CASA programs will receive pass-through funding in support of innovative and replicable marketing and recruitment projects that significantly increase service to children in their county or region.
Details for each of these projects as well as CalCASA’s policy and enhanced marketing work can be found on our website. We hope you will find our 15,000 by 2020 plan exciting! We extend our gratitude to our demonstration project partners, all 44 CASA programs serving 50 counties, NCASA, and CalCASA’s board of directors and staff for their individual and collective contributions to the development of this proposal and plan. With this clear path forward we look forward to seeking additional partners and investors committed to ensuring that every foster child who needs one has access to a CASA!
October 1, 2015
Inside Look: A Siskiyou CASA couple's perspective
By David Smith, Siskiyou Daily
Siskiyou County has had a dearth of male Court Appointed Special Advocates in recent years, but one new strategy is expected to pay dividends in the future – volunteer couples...
September 1, 2015
SFCASA Volunteer Eric Lukoff was awarded the San Francisco Bay Area Super Bowl 50 Playmaker award. They worked to produce a video with BAYCAT featuring Eric and SFCASA that is aimed at recruiting more male volunteers.
July 15, 2015
Good Neighbors: Foster youths looking for someone to care
Contra Costa Times
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) volunteers are ordinary people doing extraordinary work for abused, neglected and abandoned children and youth in foster care in our community. There are more than 60 children and youths in Contra Costa County waiting for an adult friend who will guide them through adulthood in the foster care system...
May 27, 2015
OP-ED: The best possible investment
Written By Patricia Bresee
The San Mateo Daily Journal
This May, during National Foster Care month, two lessons come to mind which I learned during my nine years representing children caught up in the maelstrom of dependency hearings. Lessons worth remembering as the state government ponders a use for our multi-billion dollar budget surplus...
May 24, 2015
Tehachapi women complete training to aid abused and neglected children
By Tehachapi News
Court Appointed Special Advocates recently announced the graduation of the most recent class of CASA trainees, including two Tehachapi women...
May 23, 2015
Joys, challenges of being a CASA
By Jim Hight
On a windy afternoon in December 2013, I drove to a remote corner of northern Humboldt County for a play-date with a foster kid I’d never met. I was nervous: Would he like the activities I’d planned? Would he like me?...
May 15, 2015
Toy Industry Foundation and National CASA Help 7,000 Kids in Need in So. California
By National CASA Association
Foster children throughout Southern California will be given the magic and joy of play thanks to nearly 150 volunteers brought together today by the Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) and National Court Appointed Special Advocates Association (CASA)...
April 29, 2015
Volunteers change foster children’s lives
By Ellen Wright
The Coast News
According to a Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative study, 3 percent of foster youth will earn a college degree and 20 percent become homeless after they turn 18 years old...
April 15, 2015
Summit looks at childhood trauma’s long-term impact
By Ana B. Ibarra
Merced Sun - Star
Where children grow up matters.
The environment to which people are exposed in their childhood plays a significant role in their adult life, according to health leaders who presented at the 12th annual Children’s Summit of Merced County...
April 9, 2015
CASA look to make a difference
By Brian Bullock
Court Appointed Special Advocates are volunteers who work to protect the rights abused and neglected children in the foster care system. They work almost anonymously to care for the neediest youth in the area...
February 25, 2015
South Placer CASA mentor, youth develop special bond
By GCM staff report
Roseville Granite Bay Press Tribune
Five years ago, 9-year-old Zack was having behavior problems at school and struggling with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder...
Articles featuring California CASA staff:
NBC Bay Area’s Instigative Reporting Unit looked into a horrific instance of child abuse to learn about the practices when children are abused in foster care.
Vicky Nguyen, Michael Bott and Mark Villareal (October 30, 2015)
Interview with Phil Ladew, California CASA Associate and Legal Director
RIVERSIDE COUNTY: Court Advocates for Foster Kids to Return - The Press Enterprise
Burge, Sarah (2015, January 22)
Quoting California CASA CEO, Cory Pohley
VFC to Operate Volunteer Advocacy Services to Children - The Desert Independent
Quoting California CASA CEO, Cory Pohley
Drugging Our Kids, Pt. 2 - The San Jose Mercury News
De Sa, Karen (2014, September 21)
Quoting California CASA Associate and Legal Director, Phil Ladew
Become a Champion for a Foster Child - The American Academy of Pediatrics, California
Written by Pohley, Cory (2013, Issue 4, page 5)