(L-R) Former President & CEO of VFC Kelly Capen Douglas, Esq., Judge Ana España, and Chief Program Officer of VFC Stephen Moore.
The San Diego County, Juvenile Justice Commission, recognizes those who have positively contributed to the juvenile justice system each year. Voices for Children was honored to be a 2022 award recipient! As the largest Juvenile Justice Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program in the country, we are proud to work alongside the individuals and organizations dedicated to making a difference for these youth.
Voice for Children’s Juvenile Justice program began in 2018, and since then, it has served over 200 youth in San Diego County’s juvenile justice system. While San Diego County has seen recent sharp increases in violent crimes committed by minors, our program continues to work to identify nonviolent justice-involved youth that desperately need the support and guidance of a CASA.
A youth involved in juvenile justice can benefit from having a CASA for many of the same reasons as a child in foster care. The CASA ensures the youth’s case stays on track and that their physical, emotional, educational, and medical needs are met. Youth in both the juvenile justice and dependency systems often feel scared, frustrated, or hopeless. Having a CASA lets them know they aren’t alone and that they have someone they can rely on for help. Some of the youth we serve are involved in both systems.
Now in its fifth year, the Juvenile Justice CASA program is seeing positive outcomes. Youth with a CASA has increased access to prosocial activities, trauma-informed services, and higher rates of probation compliance and completion. The program sets up youth to succeed and thrive in the future.