San Francisco Court Appointed Special Advocate Program Overview
Target demographics: Children and youth in foster care
Direct beneficiaries per year: over 250 children
Geographic areas served: San Francisco
Programs: recruiting volunteers to work with and provide support for children and youth in foster care. Each volunteer makes a commitment to work with and for an assigned client child for a minimum of 18 months. Volunteers are rigorously screened and participate in a one-hour interview with two staff members.
As sworn officers of the court, SFCASA volunteers have full access to all confidential information pertaining to their client children and thus are able to advocate effectively to address children's needs. The SFCASA volunteer is often the only adult with comprehensive knowledge of the child's history and needs.
CASAs address the child's needs for 1) a safe, permanent, and nurturing home; 2) educational services appropriate to the child's needs; 3) preventive and indicated healthcare; 4) after school activities which build self-esteem and promote community and 5) a caring, consistent, and responsible adult who models constructive behavior and establishes a trusting relationship.
Serious and chronic health and developmental problems occur approximately 500% more frequently among our court dependent children than in the general population. These children as a group tend to be learning-disabled, to suffer emotional disturbances because of impermanence and exposure to violence, to have chronic and often untreated health problems, and to be high risk for failure in school, chronic unemployment, substance abuse, incarceration, and homelessness.
By finding safe and permanent homes for client children and by addressing these children's educational, healthcare, and other urgent needs, SFCASA volunteers promote clients' healthy emotional development and minimize the consequences of abuse and neglect. SFCASA is the only agency operating in San Francisco dedicated exclusively to providing this client population with comprehensive advocacy and mentorship.