Court Appointed Special Advocates of Santa Cruz County

Rating: 4.92 stars   36 reviews

Issues:

Location: 813 Freedom Blvd. Watsonville CA 95076 USA

Mission: CASA is a child’s voice in dependency court, providing advocacy, stability, and hope to children who have been abused, neglected, or abandoned.
Results: Since 1992 we have served over 1,500 children in Santa Cruz County. Our volunteers give over 12,750 hours of service each year for our children. In 2010 we completed renovation of our new permanent home in Watsonville. At "CASA's casa" we provide a warm, welcoming, homelike environment where our advocates can meet with their assigned child, play games, complete art projects, or prepare meals in our kitchen.
Target demographics: Children, aged birth to 21 years old, who are in the dependency court and foster care system due to neglect or abuse. In 2010, 52% were male. 57% were Latino, 32% Caucasian, and 8% African American.
Direct beneficiaries per year: In 2014 we provided 218 children with a Volunteer Advocate to lift up their voice.
Geographic areas served: Santa Cruz County, California
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

As a manager with a local social service agency for over 20 years I’m well aware of the many barriers foster children face. When I started thinking about retirement becoming a CASA volunteer was at the top of my list. CASA of Santa Cruz County is a terrific organization with a great staff providing excellent support and training for advocates as well as maintaining strong ties to the local Children’s Protective Services agency and other community agencies.
As a CASA advocate I’ve been the only consistent person in my child’s life for over five years. I’ve had excellent relations with his social workers and other professional staff over the years and am always impressed by how CASA is respected by the courts and how my recommendations have been accepted and made a difference in his life. Vivian Brown, Santa Cruz

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Rating: 5 stars  

We know that children are the future of our world. As a CASA, I feel that I can contribute a tiny bit to our collective future. To see small changes in children, a light in their eyes, an understanding of the larger world, a level of trust where there has been little in the past ... this is what keeps me coming back, case after case (4 children in 10 years). Plus, I have learned so much about the legal and social services systems in my county ... a personal educational benefit.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I love being a CASA. It's such a tangible way to make an amazing difference in the lives of kids in my community. Not only do I feel more knowledgeable from all the training I received, I feel like I am actually making a difference in my kid's life!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

As a CASA, I try to be the eyes and ears for the judge as much as possible, to help find the best permanent solution for a child that has ended up being in "the system"(often meaning in foster care). I also try to create a special time when my child and I are together, doing things that are otherwise lacking, whether sports, biking, art, singing or eating out. The child can learn to trust again, and hopefully can develop a good vision for the future. Just when you think that your falling in love with a CASA kid, was because he/she is so special, you fall in love with the next one. That's because they are all so special as we discover, and so lovable.The staff of CASA is wonderfully supportive, and the training is great.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

Becoming an advocate for CASA of Santa Cruz County is one of the best things I've ever done. The experienced and knowledgeable staff make the experience much more rewarding as they are available to assist the volunteers every step of the way. The volunteers have ample supervision and guidance to make them more effective advocates for the children in the program. I am proud to be a CASA volunteer as we are able to be the voice in court for these children. We also have the ability to become mentors and positive influences in their lives. I truly believe I am making a difference in my child's life, and that makes me feel very good.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

CASA of Santa Cruz County serves Foster Youth in our County by serving as advocates for at risk Foster Children. We meet with our CASA child weekly and report to Dependency Court on the status of our child. CASA of Santa Cruz County is a well run and professional organization that provides exceptional service to our Foster Youth.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Rating: 5 stars  

Santa Cruz Chapter of CASAis helping more children than ever in our county who need the help of a CASA Advocate while the child is in the court system due to abuse or neglect. We are sure if we stabilize these children that our county will have fewer criminals & jail/prison inmates in the future. Every child deserves a chance in y=this world.

Was your donation impactful?

Unsure

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

The Advocates, Board and staff of CASA of Santa Cruz are a truly inspirational group as demonstrated by their caring, hard work and dedication to the children they serve. My role as a volunteer for CASA has been through their Friends of CASA group. The money we raise for the Children's Fund is used by the advocates for the special needs of their child. These needs are as varied as a bicycle, tutoring, money for a school trip, music lessons, school pictures or whatever that advocate deems would make a difference to that particular child. Every volunteer hour I have put in over the past several years has only increased my respect for this group and their constant focus on the children's well-being.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Rating: 5 stars  

I have been the advocate for a now 15 year old girl for about 18 months. She is the oldest of 4 children and is struggling with the idea that her mom cannot appropriately take care of them. I have watched her these months change from being smart and funny and suspicious and guarded and confused to smart and funny and outspoken and trusting. Last week when she got some probably unexpected news from the court, she ran away from school and got a ride 30 miles to Grandma's house. She was surprised when I told her I understood her fears and her actions, but that she could trust her team - and could have just asked to see Grandma. She gave me a huge (rare) hug and has really opened up about her feelings. It's amazing to see her grow into a thoughtful young woman who knows it's okay to have conflicting feelings and that her future is not defined by her past. I have no doubt that the whole team at CASA has made a huge difference in this girl's life. She is now talking about doing things that didn't seem possible to her before-- what an amazing experience it has been to watch her grow!!!

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

change nothing - the staff is available always and is consistently examining their practices to make sure they are doing their best. I have never felt so supported and encouraged!!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

This experience helped me to be cognizant of how my words can influence other people and has taught me to be very clear in what I say. It has also given me such great relationships with other volunteers and staff.

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

This experience is the latest in many volunteer positions I have had through the years. In too many other cases it was hard to see the result of my efforts, but in this situation I feel that I can so clearly see what my time and attention is changing in this young girl's life.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I had three foster children beginning in 1998. My first a teenage girl, freshman in high school. She was shipped in between 5 foster homes. I stayed with her four years.She did graduated from high school and is now a wonderful mother of 3.My second child was placed in a group care home at the age of 6 (couldn't believe it). I was with her for a little over a year. She was adopted by wonderful people. Last but not least is a young boy who was about 7 when we got together. His parents both had drug problems, mother gone, father jailed. He was adopted by a wonderful family. I am still with him even though he is adopted. His new parents asked if I could stay on with him and I am so happy to do so. All of my kids gave me much more than I gave them. Only reason I am not an active CASA now is I'm so actively involved in my last child's life.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

protecting children who are in the foster care system

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I really can't add to what they already do

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

What one change could this group make that would improve your volunteer experience?

again, very satisfied

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

profound effect. I learned to focus through court reports, opened my mind to different cultures, became less judgmental, learned how to balance my ego..it is about the children..we weren't there to save them we were there to advocate for them, protect them

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

most satisfying thing I have done, that includes my paid professional life.

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