From Our President/CEO
Since 1980, Voices for Children has served the foster children of San Diego County. VFC began when two young women—Kathryn Ashworth, a law student, and Elizabeth Bacon, a social worker—recruited friends and Junior League members to systematically review and summarize foster care case files. Working from a desk in the hallway of San Diego’s juvenile court, they adopted the volunteer advocate model created in Seattle in 1977, joined what became the National CASA Association, and began training advocates in 1983.
Today, more than three decades later, Voices for Children is one of the largest, oldest, and best managed CASA organizations in the nation. This year alone, our staff of 74 has supported and coached 1,500 CASAs who provided court advocacy, focused attention, and hope to 2,400 children who were victims of horrific child abuse, neglect, and abandonment. They became their “voice,” speaking up for them in court, in schools, and in the community.
But the crisis of foster care persists in San Diego. Every day, innocent children are victims of life-threatening child abuse, neglect, and abandonment. Over the course of a year, some 5,100 children will spend time in the foster care system, and some will live within the system for their entire childhoods. Our dream is that one day, we will be able to serve every child with a CASA so that more of them will have an advocate standing up for them and giving them hope for a better future…including a safe and permanent “forever family.”
Voices for Children has had a remarkable impact on our community and none of it could have been possible without the collective commitment, tenacity, and compassion of the volunteers, Board members, corporations, foundations, and philanthropic individuals who believe in our mission and support our work.
This year, our goal is to help 3,000 children with CASAs and review the case files of all 5,100 children in foster care. But we can only accomplish this with your continued support. Whatever your talent, profession, or background, your support of our mission is critical. If you are willing to directly impact an abused child’s life by becoming a Court Appointed Special Advocate, we need you! Consider becoming a CASA volunteer! If you are unable to commit to becoming a CASA but wish to support our mission with a financial contribution, we need you!
Please read through our web site to learn more about how our CASAs impact the lives of abused children, and all the ways you can become involved and support our mission. Every day, we remind ourselves: these foster children are our children—and they need the community to stand by them and for them while on their journey. Each child deserves a childhood of security, peace, and joy.
Sharon M. Lawrence, President/CEO