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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Administration of Justice, Child Abuse Prevention, Children & Youth, Children & Youth Services, Crime & Law, Domestic Violence, Protection Against Abuse

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

Programs: Court appointed special advocates of santa cruz county (casa) is a nonprofit organization incorporated in the state of california in 1992. The organization recruits, trains, and supervises advocates appointed by the dependency court to provide a voice for children who have experienced abuse or neglect and are in the foster care system. Casa's volunteers also assist in ensuring that the health, educational, and permanency needs of these children are met. In the fiscal year 2014-2015, casa provided 226 children with a volunteer advocate and trained 86 new volunteers to be advocates. We had 614 visits to the casa house by children with their advocates. We provided 20 "continuing education" workshops or events with our volunteers. Casa is supported primarily through public and private grants and donor contributions.

Community Stories

34 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1 Heather52

Volunteer

Rating: 5

CASA Santa Cruz is an amazing program. As a volunteer, we get some of the best training I've ever received. The staff are not only supportive, they provide fun things volunteers can do to help CASA and hang out. But of course, the biggest thing is how dedicated everyone involved in this program is to helping the foster youth of our county. Everyone works tirelessly to help these kids out - education, clothing, special needs that come up, help with placement, everything. I've never been so impressed with a non-profit, and I've been involved with many (and even ran one for a few years!)

June4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I learned about CASA when the late Judge Black came to my Rotary Club and announced that the organization was starting in Santa Cruz and volunteers would be needed. The idea that I could make a difference in the life of a child struck a chord in my heart. It seemed like the right time for me, because I didn't have grandchildren yet.

I am proud to say that I was in the first graduating class and it is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done in my life because being among the first advocates was a scary thing, I will continue to help CASA with their important work in every way that I can.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I can't recommend this nonprofit highly enough. I have worked with this organization since its inception and can assure you of the high standards maintained of volunteers and staff, and the loyalty and devotion of our volunteers. Over 200 children currently benefit from the weekly contact with our volunteers, and today, more volunteers than ever before are signing up to work with another child if their child's life situation improves to the point of emancipation.

Gail17

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The staff of CASA of Santa Cruz County are dedicated to the children who are served by them. They are a respectful, professional, talented group of individuals who are responsive to the needs of the community who is served. The CASA house on Freedom Boulevard acts as a warm and loving "home" for the children. The staff plays an integral role in providing this warm, loving and friendly respite for the Advocates and the children. I find that every time I am in the house I walk away with a renewed motivation to continue my volunteer work with CASA.
Gail Levine, Felton, CA

lynnhawk

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Best organization I have ever worked with. You really feel you have made a difference in a child's life. I can't say enough!

Jacqueline M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

A great team helping so many children improve their lives and acheive so much.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have always felt an affinity for young girls and young women who struggle without a strong female presence in their lives. CASA provides the opportunity for me to give as well as to receive. I spend several hours a week with a CASA girl and we are able to talk and to do things that she ordinarily would not be able to do in an open and totally non-judgmental way. We just let the day unfold and follow what comes our way. I like to provide a space for her that is all about HER, what she wants to do and let her make decisions as to how we will spend our day. Recently, my CASA girl told me that she felt that the two of us just got along from the first day we met, and that she remembers every thing that we have done since that day. She tells me that she waits all week long for our Saturdays together. Please consider becoming a CASA. The simple joys are overwhelming.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

tHIS is the most rewarding experience of my life. After retiring as a Travel Agent, I volunteered as an assistant at the local hospital and found that it was more like a job and didn't satisfy my needs as a volunteer. When I was introduced to the advocacy program by a friend I became very interested in working with the children. Having three children of my own grown and gone, and grandchildren living mostly out of state, the tendency to help the youngsters with their needs after being abused and neglected . The training was extensive and I learned so much more to be helpful in guiding me to help . Ongoing training is offered if you have a particular problem with a case. You are supervised by people who have been in the nonprofits for years and are much appreciated by the advocates. I have worked on 4 cases since my swearing in as an advocate (2003) and was recently called back into service for a child I worked with 5 years ago. She is 11 now and is back in the system. We have a new relationship since she is entering her teen years, She seems almost adult and we are working on getting her kid days back. We will see how the court handles this one. I do love the help from the social workers, lawyers, supervisors,the staff at the Casa House, everyone I am contact with are anxious to inform help me support my Casa kid. That is all worth the time and energy spent. Saving the kids are first and foremost the objectives of all my associates in the advocacy program. For that I am appreciative and will continue to service the children.

Joseph9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Working with foster youth is rewarding for the youth and for you--the volunteer. CASA's training is outstanding and the support continues. I can't imagine doing anything more rewarding or beneficial.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.