How did Voices for Children come to be involved with Riverside County?
In August 2014, the Superior Court of California, Riverside County, and Judicial Council of California asked Voices for Children (VFC) to rebuild the CASA program in Riverside County in order to continue to provide services for the thousands of foster children who need support in the region. This request came not only because of the geographic proximity, but also because VFC is a model program, both regionally and nationally, and has the appropriate level of professional expertise, staff resources, and management acumen to turn the program around. Since that time, the Riverside County CASA program has grown year-over-year. It now serves more Riverside County children in foster care than many programs that have been in existence for decades.
What is Voices for Children’s background as the CASA program for San Diego County?
California law allows the Juvenile Court to designate one organization per county as its official CASA Program. This designation gives CASA volunteers the legal authorization to investigate an abused and/or neglected child’s circumstances, spend time with the child, and make best interest recommendations to the Juvenile Court. VFC is and has been the only CASA program for San Diego County since 1983. In 2015, VFC was also designated as the only CASA program for Riverside County.
Voices for Children is one of the nation’s leading CASA programs, ranking in the top five of all 950 such programs in the U.S. in terms of budget size ($7 million), number of children served (3,200), number of CASA volunteers (1,600), and size of staff (75).
What is the agreement between Voices for Children and Superior Court of California, Riverside County, to continue CASA services in Riverside County?
In January 2015, VFC entered into an agreement with the Superior Court of California, Riverside County, as the sole organization authorized to recruit, train, and support CASAs who speak up for abused and neglected children living in Riverside County’s foster care system.
To what does Voices for Children attribute the success of the program in Riverside County?
Voices for Children brought to Riverside County decades of success training and supporting CASA volunteers in their advocacy. VFC uses an Advocacy Supervisor model in which staff members with expertise in child welfare and volunteer management are matched with CASAs to help them navigate the system and collaborate with them on their case.
Additionally, VFC has been grateful for the financial support of local governments, corporations, foundations, and individuals. As a nonprofit organization, VFC must raise all of the funds necessary to recruit, train, and expertly support our CASA volunteers. The potential to grow and serve more children in Riverside County depends on the generosity of the community.
How does Voices for Children operate in Riverside County?
The Riverside County program started modestly. The first few months of 2015 encompassed a top-to-bottom needs assessment and plan of action. In June 2015, VFC launched its CASA program in Riverside County, and served 140 children through the work of 113 CASAs in its first full fiscal year (FY2015-2016). Riverside County staff and volunteers have received extensive training on the VFC model of court advocacy, and use all VFC policies and procedures in their operation. VFC is committed to advocating for children and supporting volunteers throughout the diverse and geographically expansive Riverside County region, and staff members work from locations in the cities of Riverside, Murrieta/French Valley, and the Coachella Valley. In its most recently completed fiscal year (FY2017-2018), more than 240 CASAs advocated on behalf of 356 children.
How is the CASA Program in Riverside County funded?
The program initially received a grant from the Judicial Council of California, which was matched dollar-for-dollar by a private donor who is concerned about the welfare of Riverside County’s foster children. Since then, individuals, local governments, foundations, and corporations have partnered with Voices for Children to establish a solid program and ensure that foster children in Riverside County have CASAs by their side—in court, in school, and in the community. For more information about how individuals, businesses and organizations can partner with VFC’s Riverside County program, please contact Jessica Muñoz, Executive Director, at 951-357-9100 or email@example.com.
Is Voices for Children currently recruiting new CASAs for Riverside County?
Yes! If you are interested in becoming a CASA, please register to attend one of our upcoming Information Sessions. Then, you will need to complete and submit our CASA Application for Riverside County and interview with a Voices for Children staff member. If after the interview we determine a mutual fit, you will be invited to begin training through our Advocate University. For more information about becoming a CASA volunteer, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 951-472-9301, or click here.