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The majority of the clients that are part of Peacock Acres have CASA advocates that work very closely with us. This partnership is so important, as our clients rely on both Peacock Acres and CASA advocates to continue their journey to move forward in their lives. These two organizations make sure that the lines of communication remain open, and that our interactions remain constant throughout. We are so happy to have Voices For Children right across the street from us, and we will continue to work closely with them!
Voices for Children trains and supports community volunteers who support and guide children in the foster care system. CASAs (Court Appointed Special Advocates) speak up for the children’s best interests and build relationships that help restore a child’s trust. CASAs also mentor youth over age 18 as they transition out of foster care into independent living.
Voices for Children ensures that children placed in foster care receive the care and services they need to be safe and thrive, while also pursuing permanent homes for the children. Community volunteers, trained as Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs), provide practical support and rights-based advocacy for foster children. Monterey County’s first CASA was appointed in 1997, after the organization’s founding as the Monterey County CASA Association in 1996. Since that time we’ve trained more than 900 community volunteers and served more than 1,000 children. Voices for Children follows California and local rules of court, adheres to the standards set by the National CASA Association (established in 1977), is a member of the National CASA Association, and has been certified as a partner agency of United Way Monterey County.
Child Protective Services removes a child from his or her parents when the child’s safety and well being are in danger. The child’s case comes before the Juvenile Dependency Court, and then the child is moved to a safe place, such as a foster home, and services are provided. The team that manages the case includes social workers, attorneys, and caregivers. The judge can order that the child get a CASA—a Court Appointed Special Advocate—to provide an additional layer of support and guidance. In addition to getting to know the child, CASAs submit reports, make recommendations, and speak up for the child to the judge in court proceedings. In preparation, CASAs spend time with the child, review records, research information, and talk with professionals, caregivers, teachers, and therapists. CASAs develop a case plan, identifying the child’s priority issues, and participate in team meetings to monitor, support, and guide progress toward family reunification or other permanency plans.
Voices for Children provides professionally trained and supervised volunteers appointed by the judge to serve as Officers of the Court. CASAs have a legal responsibility to advocate for the best interests and quality of life for Monterey County’s foster children. Locally, no other agency serves in this capacity.
All children deserve to live in a safe, permanent, and loving home. Therefore, advocacy is conducted in the context of permanency: finding lifelong support and connections for children and youth in the foster care system. Permanency can mean family reunification, adoption, guardianship, or living with a relative or family friend.