The COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on our community – including the children we serve, our volunteers, and our staff – is of great concern to us at Voices for Children, and we will continue to closely monitor the situation both locally and nationally. We are in close and regular communication with court and county officials in both San Diego and Riverside Counties and have remained apprised of the various phases they have gone through since mid-March.
As the situation continues to develop, we will update this page with information that affects our volunteers, our operations, and, most importantly, our children.
Last updated: Friday, July 17, 2020
Children & CASA Volunteers
- As of June 24, 2020, VFC has introduced Phase 1 for in-person visits with children and other case-related in-person meetings. In-person visits are completely optional at this time and include updated health and safety requirements, including but not limited to: visiting outdoors, maintaining physical distancing (minimum six feet) at all times throughout the visit, wearing a face covering, washing hands or using hand sanitizer frequently, and not transporting children.
- We are prioritizing good communication and maintaining connections. In addition to or in lieu of in-person visits, we encourage CASAs to be creative in finding ways to stay connected with their case children and to participate in essential meetings remotely if possible.
- CASAs will continue supporting their youth, including by advocating for their needs via written court reports.
- In San Diego County, the Juvenile Court has undergone various phases of closures and reopening starting since mid-March. Currently, the Juvenile Court is hearing all dependency and juvenile justice cases again. As of June 15, 2020, CASAs were included virtually and may participate in hearings telephonically.
- In Riverside County, the Juvenile Court is beginning to open and is operating a limited number of courtrooms. At this time, CASAs continue to refrain from attending hearings. We continue to be in communication with court officials to align our plans with theirs.
Voices for Children Team
- At this time, almost all of VFC staff in San Diego and all of VFC staff in Riverside County are working remotely. All staff can still be reached at their same email addresses and phone numbers. However, as we are encouraging our staff to not work and take care of themselves if they are sick, please be aware that you may be directed to or contacted by other members of our team if a particular staff member is unavailable. Each and every member of our team is highly qualified and will gladly support you.
- We have updated our Business Continuity Plan so we will be able to respond quickly and efficiently in the event that we are required to make additional changes to our business operations.
- We are staying in close communication with officials in San Diego and Riverside County’s courts and various agencies to remain apprised of their plans moving forward.
- Sadly, the needs of children in foster care are not put on hold because of the current health crisis. If you are interested in volunteering as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) to speak up for a child in foster care, we strongly encourage you to sign up for one of our volunteer Information Sessions. We have transitioned these sessions to an online format so that we can continue meeting the needs of our community’s most vulnerable children.
Trainings & Events
- In-person events, such as small group meetings, continuing education programs, and Real Word panel presentations have been cancelled, postponed, or transitioned to an online format. Future events will be evaluated as the situation continues to develop.
- Moving forward, Advocate University trainings will be transitioning to an online format in both counties until we are able to host them again in-person.
We encourage our staff, volunteers, and supporters to take care of your own health and follow nationally recognized guidelines to prevent the spread of illness. We are deeply grateful for our community’s continued dedication to our children and our mission.