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2015 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Court Appointed Special Advocates of Santa Cruz County

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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

3 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1 Heather52


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!)


Board Member

Rating: 5

CASA of Santa Cruz County is a very special organization. The staff and numerous volunteers support and advocate for local children who have been abused or neglected. It is emotional and deeply transformative work. The difference they make in the lives of local kids who have a really hard go at life is remarkable. The people who make up the organization are incredible human beings who work with harmony, efficiency, and competency. The impact they make and the authentic caring peopole they are moved me to not only make significant financial contributions but to also proudly participate as a board member. You will be hard-pressed to find a non-profit that is more professionally run and locally impactful.

2 CASAfan

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been on a number of non-profit boards, and this one is by far the most focused and best run, with a clear mission and accountability measures to monitor progress toward goal. We leverage the power of volunteers to provide the most vulnerable children in our community with a much needed voice in dependency court and the crucial decisions that affect their lives. CASA is unusual among local non-profits in its financial solvency, both currently and for the future. I attribute this to the strength of the staff and staff leadership, as well as the organization's laser-like focus on its contained but critical mission.


Board Member

Rating: 5

For years in my capacity as a therapist and social worker I was very aware of the value of the
CASA program. Children who were in the child welfare system were blessed by being matched
with a compassionate and well trained volunteer. Many years later I was invited to provide a team
building workshop for the staff and board. I was so impressed by the members, the collaborate spirit
and there commitment to the children in our community. That day the board president asked if I was
interested in being a member and I said yes. The reason I said yes is because this board and staff are some of the most involved, passionate and committed group I have worked with. I am honored to be a part of this organization and to make a difference to the many children in need.