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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!)



Rating: 5

I was in CASA's very first class of advocates in 1993. I learned about CASA when the late Judge Black spoke at my Rotary Club about the organization coming to Santa Cruz County. I had worked with foster kids at Camp Opportunity, but felt I could make an ever bigger impact as an advocate. My first case was a 5-year old girl who loved to go to the park. One day when she wanted to go on the monkey bars but was afraid, I walked with her underneath the bars, and she felt safe. For me, that was symbolic of how I walked with her throughout her years in the foster care system. Over 25 years later, I am still in contact with her.
After the organization was established, I acted as one of CASA's first "Ambassadors," and helped spread out the word to the community. The news about the organization had to start somewhere, and I feel blessed to be a part of that movement. I recently joined CASA's Legacy Society; my gift will help make sure that this much needed organization can continue on.

Previous Stories


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.


Rating: 5

My husband and several friends have all been CASA volunteers. They loved their volunteer work for CASA it made them feel useful Each person felt that they had made a big impact on the lives of children they served.They also told me and tell me how wonderful and supportive the CASA staff is in supporting the work of its volunteers. I have lived in this town for many years and CASA enjoys the enthusiasm and support of many in our community
, Clearly CASA must be doing something right. I would urge everyone who is able to to join CASA as a volunteer and/or supporter


Rating: 5

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.