VOICES FOR CHILDREN’S RIVERSIDE COUNTY CASA PROGRAM SERVES 521 LOCAL YOUTH IN FOSTER CARE
In 2015, Voices for Children became the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program for Riverside County. Since then, the program has grown steadily, serving 140 children living in foster care in 2016 to 468 children in 2021. In the 22-23 fiscal year, Voices for Children supported 521 local children in foster care in Riverside County through their CASA program. This achievement is particularly significant as it represents the highest number of youth served in a single year since the Riverside County program’s inception.
CASA volunteers are often the only stable, trusted adult in the life of a child in foster care; someone who will speak up for them — in court, in school, and in the community — to make sure their voice is heard, and their needs are met. From monitoring a child’s progress in school to ensuring they have glasses to providing written reports at court hearings and collaborating with the child, family members, and all the professionals in the child’s life, a CASA connects the puzzle pieces of an intricate child welfare system.
“I am so proud of our dedicated Court Appointed Special Advocates, Riverside County staff, and partners whose unwavering commitment to our mission has made this accomplishment possible. They have consistently gone the extra mile to positively impact the lives of 521 children in foster care this year,” said Voices for Children’s President & CEO Jessica Muñoz, Esq., MFS.
Each CASA volunteer completes a 35-hour training course focused on all aspects of a child’s well-being and development called Advocate University, undergoes extensive background checks, and makes an 18-month minimum commitment to the program. They regularly spend time with their youth, developing positive relationships, building trust, and helping spark joy and curiosity.
More children come into care across the region and need a CASA every day. Community members are encouraged to learn more about becoming an advocate for a child living in foster care by attending a Voices for Children information session by visiting speakupnow.org.
ABOUT VOICES FOR CHILDREN
Founded in 1980, Voices for Children (VFC) transforms the lives of abused, neglected, and abandoned children in foster care in San Diego and Riverside Counties by providing them with trained, volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs). CASA volunteers advocate for a child or sibling group in foster care in court, school, and the community to ensure their needs are met. VFC believes every child deserves a safe and permanent home and strives to provide a CASA volunteer to every child in the foster care system who needs one. Last year, VFC CASAs and staff served more than 3,400 children in foster care across San Diego and Riverside Counties. For more information, visit speakupnow.org.