Do Your Part
Active participation is an essential part of our movement’s success. Becoming a foster parent or CASA volunteer is a great way to connect with your local community and spread the importance of Fostering Teen Voices’ mission.
With several different campaigns, it is easy to find something that personally inspires you.
“Having at least one adult who is devoted to and loves a child unconditionally, who is prepared to accept and value that child for a long time, is key to helping a child overcome the stress and trauma of abuse and neglect.”
Become a foster parent
Children without the support of a loving home fall into a broken system. The public believes things are working because they are more comfortable ignoring the issues. We think someone else is going to fix the problems, but when people don’t step-up to become foster parents, children go to group homes.
What is the difference between living in residential care versus a foster home? Residential living only focuses on meeting the child’s physiological needs (food, water, clothing, and shelter), with no consideration on their psychological needs. Children who grow up in a segregated environment like residential living are more likely to be revictimized, retraumatized and further damaged by a system who isn’t taking accountability for the way it’s damaging them.
However, children who live in a foster home can have all their needs fulfilled, including security, safety, intimate relationships. Being in a foster home helps these children develop self-esteem and the desire to become the most that one can be.
Fostering Teens Voices encourages people not only to recognize the need but also imagine how you would feel if you lived in a jail-like institution. We hope to motivate you to take action.
“There’s a continuous need for families to step up and become foster families, to provide the stable, loving care children deserve.”
Become a CASA Volunteer
What is a CASA volunteer?
A Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) is a trained, dedicated and caring community volunteer, who is assigned to work one-on-one with a child in the foster care system. CASA volunteers are sworn in by a dependency court judge to advocate for what is in the child’s best interest.
With legal standing to fully investigate a child’s circumstances, CASA volunteers make recommendations to the court regarding how the system and community can best serve and support the child. In collaboration with others in the child’s life, volunteers are instrumental in facilitating access to the material, educational, and physical and mental health services necessary for each child to flourish.
Reasons to become a CASA volunteer?
Sometimes the CASA volunteer is the foster child’s only consistent adult from placement-to placement. A foster child may switch foster homes, schools, and social workers, but the CASA volunteer stays the same. Their involvement with the Casa program is a unique opportunity to get to know the child through many years of advocacy and relationship.
The Casa program encourages its volunteers to be there for the child, not only in the courtroom, but to show up at the child’s foster home, group home, or school. Getting to know how the child is really doing by asking, “Do you feel safe, scared, and how are they treating you?” Like a social detective, the Casa volunteer tries to know all the participants in the child’s life, and when a concern comes to light, they can address it by expressing it before the judge.
The Casa volunteer isn’t motivated by money but by an intrinsic desire to help a child in need. Let your voice make a difference in a child’s life by signing up to be a Casa worker.
What is the CASA volunteer’s role?
Whether or not you have some understanding of the child welfare system or experiences of foster youth, your role as a CASA volunteer, doesn’t require an academic or professional background in child welfare or dependency law. In your role as a CASA volunteer, you are able to collaborate with the child’s team, to identify areas of need, and focus your advocacy efforts to improve the child’s situation. As a CASA volunteer, you’ll provide intensive advocacy for children through a unique one-on-one relationship between a trained and supported adult, and a child who has experienced abuse, or abandonment.
[Infographic – CASA Volunteer Role]
Appointed by a judge, Court Appointed Special Advocates are considered volunteer officers of the court, which allows them access to confidential information.
Casa Volunteers build relationships with the child, and key people in that child’s life, in order to advocate for them in both the courtroom and the community.
Remember, in some cases, you could be the only consistent and reliable adult figure for a child during this crucial part of their life.
Training and Support
Casa trains all its volunteers before they’ve ever paired with a child. You’ll also be paired with a staff person, called an advocate supervisor, who will act as your coach, guide, and mentor throughout your volunteer experience.
We work with a unique population of children with active cases in the dependency system, who have experienced abuse, neglect, or abandonment.
What is the need in LA county?
As of 2018, there are more than 30,000 kids with active cases in the dependency system here in LA county. This is the largest number of youth in any dependency system in the entire country. So how does that large number translate into the system? It creates extremely high caseloads for those charged with promoting the safety and well-being of these children. Each child when they enter the dependency system is appointed a social worker, has an attorney who represents them, and a judge who hears their case.
[Infographic – High caseloads]
Social worker 35 cases
Investigates allegations of child abuse or neglect and works directly with families and children, helping them obtain needed services to address the circumstances that brought the family to the attention of the system.
Attorney 220 cases
Serves as the child’s legal representative who advocates for what the child wants and protects their legal rights.
Judge 1000 cases
Ensures due process is afforded to all parties who appear in court and make decisions on questions of fact and law to ensure the safety, well-being, and permanency of children.
CASA Volunteer 1 case
Focusing on the unique circumstances, needs, and personality of the child or sibling group they advocate for. Seen as the expert on their child.
Be a CASA volunteer
Join our community of congregate care* survivors.
*group home (7-12) or an institutions (12 or more)