Policy & Legislative Advocacy


California CASA speaks up for children in foster care by bringing their needs to lawmakers’ and policymakers’ attention. Staff members also provide these decision-makers with their own insights, experiences, and expertise. And, when necessary, we advocate for the initiation and enactment of legislation that ensures a fair and effective child welfare system.

California CASA’s board and staff identify and analyze bills affecting foster youth. Local, state, and national legislators call upon California CASA, a respected authority on child welfare, to provide the CASA perspective.

In addition, we have represented the network on many high-level statewide policy forums, listed below.

California CASA staff members provide their insights, experiences, and expertise to policy makers and elected officials. We have represented the network on many high-level statewide policy forums, including:

California Child Welfare Council
The California Child Welfare Council (Council), a statewide multidisciplinary advisory body established by the 2006 Child Welfare Leadership and Accountability Act, bears responsibility for improving services to children and families in the child welfare system and those at risk of entering the system. It must also report on the extent to which child welfare programs and the courts respond to children in their joint care’s needs. The Council brings together leaders from multiple agencies across all three government branches at the state and local level, as well as providers, advocates, service recipients and other stakeholders.

California Child Welfare Council Permanency Committee
The Permanency Committee of the California Child Welfare Council works to identify and recommend best practices that can help achieve speedy permanency for all children in foster care regardless of jurisdiction or court status. The Committee also identifies and recommends strategies for removing barriers that prevent children in foster care from achieving permanency. (When you click on the site, please scroll down to find the Permanency Committee heading)

California Blue Ribbon Commission on Children in Foster Care
The California Blue Ribbon Commission on Children in Foster Care provided recommendations to the California Judicial Council on the ways in which the courts and their partners can improve safety, permanency, well-being, and fairness outcomes for children and families. Among its conclusions, the Commission recommended not only that CASA volunteers be available to every child in the dependency system, but also that state funding should be expanded to allow for appointments in all cases.

California Department of Health Care Services Quality Improvement Project: Improving the Use of Psychotropic Medication among Children and Youth in Foster Care
Agencies and advocates across the state are working together to review California’s protocols for the appropriate use and monitoring of psychotropic medications administered to children in foster care. We represent CASA on the Youth, Family & Education Workgroup, which develops and disseminates educational materials about psychotropic medications to youth and other key stakeholders supporting the foster care population.

National CASA Association: Public Policy
California CASA staff members also serve on National CASA Association’s Policy Committees, including:

  • Public Policy Committee, aimed at improving federal level resources and systems related to CASA and child welfare.
  • Legal Representation Committee, which seeks to develop an understanding of best practices related to the coordination of best interests and legal representation of children and youth in child dependency cases nationwide.


Legislative Advocacy

Every year, the California legislature enacts numerous laws that affect the child welfare system. California CASA conducts research and analysis before preparing this comprehensive annual update to keep the CASA network informed.

Legislative updates are prepared for the California CASA Network (laws effective January 2018):

Legislative Update 2017

You can also take a look at previous updates below:

Legislative Update 2016

Legislative Update 2015

Legislative Update 2014

Legislative Update 2013

Legislative Update 2012