Mission: The Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Kern County speaks for abused and neglected children in the juvenile dependency process. Through the use of highly trained volunteers, the CASA program seeks to provide every child who needs an advocate with a voice in the court process.
Programs: We have developed, implemented and are currently in our seventh year of a special project focused on advocacy for court-dependent infants and toddlers, ages 0-5 years; its emphasis is ensuring that the wellness needs of these children are identified and met during critical developmental periods. The health and wellness project "the Tweens" focuses on court-dependent children and youth, ages 6-14 years. Its emphasis is ensuring that the health needs of these children are identified and met during critical periods. Our third specialized project serves the critical needs of poorly connected foster youth, ages 15 and older, who approach emancipation from the court system poorly equipped to meet the demands of healthy interdependent living. Another specialized advocacy component of our program has been working with adolescents in our dependency court system "on runaway" from foster homes, an advocacy effort that has been successful in stabilizing the lives of these youth. We are currently in our second year of a special project focused on educational advocacy for court-dependent children. Its emphasis is ensuring that the education needs of these children are identified. Success is in the children getting their education needs met because of the CASA's intervention.