CASA of Los Angeles is a registered nonprofit that organizes the community to show up for children and families in LA County’s overburdened child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Through an intentional, restorative and culturally responsive lens, we train committed, consistent and caring adults who take action by providing strengths-based advocacy and equitable access to resources and life-affirming connections. CASA/LA strengthens our community, ensuring that children and families have what they need to thrive.
Learn more at www.casala.org.
CASA volunteers advocate for children and youth in the courtroom and in all areas of their lives in order to support educational, mental and physical health as well as safety and permanency goals. Advocacy areas include:
Transition Age Youth
For youth who have spent years in group or foster homes or who are “aging out” or exiting the foster care system without having secured a safe and permanent home, the risks are substantial. CASA volunteers trained to work with Transition Age Youth mentor and support the young person through the process of accessing available aid including: completing their education, securing housing, transportation, job training and employment; and helping them gain confidence and obtain self-sufficiency.
A disproportionate number of young people in the child welfare system—19% of youth, aged 12-21, in L.A. County foster care—identify as LGBTQIA+ and are twice as likely to report being treated poorly by the foster care system. CASA volunteers support youth who identify as LGBTQIA+, helping to create long-term shifts in how child welfare institutions support LGBTQIA+ identifying youth in the system and throughout all areas of their lives.
Every child deserves a good education. CASA volunteers help youth connect to assessments, support, and the services necessary to address the students’ individual educational issues and needs. Many CASA volunteers also hold the educational rights of the youth they serve.
Early Childhood Initiative
CASA/LA is specially committed to helping children ages 0-5. In LA County, 35% of the children entering foster care are ages 0-5. As developmental needs of children are recognized earlier, interventions happen sooner, and children more quickly and successfully achieve permanency.
CASA volunteers frequently advocate for youth in delinquency court as it is not uncommon for youth in foster care to come into contact with the juvenile justice system. Volunteers support young people at juvenile justice court hearings and ensure they have all the necessary services to spend the least amount of time in the juvenile justice system as possible.
CASA/LA’s Diversion Program ensures that young people in foster care have the ability to participate in diversion programming to avoid the juvenile justice system all together.
Essential History Program
This program helps social workers, attorneys and judges make trauma-informed decisions about the young people they serve by providing them with a detailed summary of the young person’s experiences and history. Volunteers review and outline the child’s developmental, medical, and mental health history to ensure critical details are not overlooked as decisions about their futures are made.
1,337 Unique children served served in FY2021 (an increase of 3% from FY2020 and 5% increase from FY2019)
369 New and unique children appointed to a CASA
477 New children referred for a CASA this year
Received 3,024 individual inquires, meeting goal of 2,800 inquiries in FY21
311 New CASAs completed training in FY2021
1,111 CASA volunteers appointed to a case (6% growth from FY2020 despite COVID-19)
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