As always, Focusing Philanthropy covers all overhead costs. 100% of every donation will go to this campaign.
The Child Welfare
There are over 30,000 children under the jurisdiction of the Los Angeles County Dependency Court, making it the largest system in the nation supporting children removed from their homes due to allegations of abuse, neglect, and abandonment. In L.A. County, foster youth have an average of six placements during their time in the dependency care system, and often as many—or more—county social workers assigned to their case over time.
It is not surprising that children in foster care experience the following distressing consequences: 85% of foster youth live with serious mental health challenges; 37% will not finish high school; 33% of girls in foster care become pregnant by age 17; and 27% of the nation's homeless population has spent time in foster care.
CASA of Los Angeles (CASA/LA) recruits, trains, and supports citizen-volunteers to be court-appointed advocates for what are often the most challenging subset of foster care youth. These are the children who face bleak outcomes and, if un-aided, are most likely to spend the longest time in foster care. Recruitment standards, time commitments, and training for CASA volunteers are rigorous. A volunteer is usually responsible for only one or two cases at a time and almost always until the case is closed. CASA volunteers perform four functions until permanency is achieved:
- Fact-Finder & Investigator – Conducts a thorough investigation of all the information relevant to the case
- Represent Child’s Best Interest – Advocates for what is in the child’s best interest, taking into account the wishes of the child
- Case Monitoring & Reporting – Ensures that all court orders and administrative processes are handled properly; reporting factual errors or updates to the court as required
- Resource Broker – Seeks out and advocates for services that will help establish a strong support network for the child, and helps ensure that services are fulfilled appropriately and in a timely manner
By performing these critical functions for their assigned foster care cases, volunteers can transform the lives of foster youth for the better. Children with a CASA volunteer are more likely to be adopted, half as likely to re-enter foster care, and receive more coordinated medical, mental health, and educational services while in the system.
THE GIVING OPPORTUNITY
In 2018, CASA LA intends to increase the number of youth and children served to 1,050 up from 949 in fiscal year 2017. However, in order to achieve this growth CASA LA needs to recruit and hire 3 new full time Advocacy Supervisors to provide direct supervision, guidance and support to new volunteers. Each Advocacy Supervisor carries a “load” of 50 CASA volunteers. The number of supervisors directly correlates to the number of CASAs that can be on-boarded and subsequently the number of foster youth and children that CASA LA has the capacity to serve. CASA LA has had tremendous success in volunteer recruitment and training and now requires investment and growth in the capacity to manage new volunteers.
In support of this goal, Focusing Philanthropy and CASA LA are launching the "Child Welfare Advocacy Campaign" to raise funds to recruit, hire, and onboard the Advocacy Supervisors needed. Focusing Philanthropy will add $1 for every $2 donated by CASA LA donors in support of this campaign, until the $300,000 goal is reached. The campaign will run from November 1, 2017 to May 15, 2018. To qualify for the match, all contributions must be made through Focusing Philanthropy. Donations are fully tax deductible to U.S. taxpayers, and 100% of every donation will go to this campaign.