The COVID-19 and its potential 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 are closely monitoring 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 to remain apprised of their plans.
As the situation continues to develop, we will update this page with information that affects our volunteers, our operations, and, most important, our children.
Last updated: Friday, March 27, 2020
Children & CASA Volunteers
- We have asked CASAs and VFC staff to refrain from court hearings, in-person visits with children, and other in-person meetings until otherwise notified. Our CASA volunteers will be taking extra care during this time to explain to their case children why they are unable to meet.
- We are prioritizing good communication and maintaining connections. 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, the Juvenile Court is closed for all matters except detentions and special hearings involving matters directly impacting the health and safety of children. The closure is effective March 17, 2020, through March 31, 2020, with the option to remain closed for an additional 14 days if needed.
- In Riverside County, the Juvenile Court is closed except for limited emergency matters. The closure is effective March 20, 2020, through April 3, 2020.
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 previously scheduled during the month of March have been cancelled, postponed, or transitioned to an online format. Future events will be evaluated as the situation continues to develop.
- The March Advocate University training class in San Diego County was cancelled and volunteers have been scheduled to attend a future training. 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 will be converting Wine Women & Shoes into a 3-day virtual experience during the first weekend in May. Although the annual event will look different this year, its purpose remains the same: to support VFC’s mission to transform the lives of children in foster care by providing them with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs). The community fundraiser will include donation opportunities to Fund-A-CASA, an online auction, links to shop San Diego’s trendsetting boutiques while giving back to VFC, and more.
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.