Provide individualized advocacy services for 315 foster youth in San Diego County with Voices For Children and Focusing Philanthropy

As always, Focusing Philanthropy covers all overhead costs. 100% of every donation will go to the 2021 “Brighter Futures” foster care campaign.


The support and advocacy that CASAs provide to children in foster care is essential, during the pandemic more than ever, as the needs of children entering foster care are growing and those already in the system are remaining there longer due to delays in court. Social distancing has resulted in isolation by restricting their ability to visit their brothers and sisters, see their parents, and be with their peers at school. Medical professionals and child welfare experts anticipate a rise in mental health challenges, and, according to a study by McKinsey & Co. released in June 2020, children from low-income communities are likely to become at least 12 months behind in school as a result of the move to distance learning.

This year, more than 3,500 children will spend time in San Diego County foster care after suffering abuse or neglect. Though the local foster care system is made up of many dedicated professionals, there are not enough resources to give children the individual care and attention they need. San Diego social workers manage the cases of up to 25 families, attorneys represent up to 150 children, and judges hear as many as 500 cases per year. Children encounter a revolving door of child welfare professionals and there can be gaps in the delivery of critical services.

Foster youth face many challenges beyond the abuse that originally caused them to enter the foster care system. They experience frequent housing changes, school transfers, general emotional distress, and are also at risk for numerous negative outcomes later in life. Only 54% of foster youth graduate high school within four years, compared to 83% of their peers, and only 4% of former foster youth obtain a college degree by age 26, compared to 36% of the general population. One in three youth who exits foster care in California experiences homelessness within two years and 50-85% of children involved in human-trafficking have history with the child welfare system.


Focusing Philanthropy and Voices For Children (VFC) are launching a campaign to raise $600,000 to provide individualized advocacy services for more than 315 foster youth in San Diego County in these difficult and uncertain times.

Voices For Children recruits, trains, and deploys citizen volunteers to advocate for foster children, one-on-one, until permanency is achieved or the case is closed. These Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) are often the only consistent, caring adults in a foster child’s life. Since 1980, VFC has grown to become one of the largest and most successful CASA programs in the country, ranked in the Top 3 out of nearly 1,000. In Fiscal Year 2019-20, Voices for Children provided 1,577 children with a CASA, and through advocacy, case assessment, or case monitoring, served all 3,790 children in San Diego County’s foster care system.

The “Brighter Futures” campaign will fund the recruitment, training, supervision and continued support of 240 new CASA volunteers in 2021. Information sessions and outreach efforts will take place virtually or in person, depending on current social distancing protocol. Each CASA is assigned to a single case or sibling group, meaning a total of 315 foster children will receive a dedicated advocate to speak up for their best interests in court, school, and the community. As added support during the pandemic, CASAs are focused on connecting their children with vital mental health resources and ensuring they have access to equipment, WiFi, support at home, tutoring, and other tools needed to progress educationally.


From February 1 to June 25, 2021, every $1 raised by Focusing Philanthropy will be matched with $2 raised by Voices For Children, until the campaign goal of $600,000 is reached. To qualify for the match, donations must be directed to Focusing Philanthropy and a minimum of $1,000. Donations are fully tax deductible and 100% of funds contributed will go to the “Brighter Futures” foster care campaign. All Focusing Philanthropy costs are covered by its founders.