Mission Edge is thrilled to highlight one of our newest clients, Voices for Children. Voices for Children works to ensure every child in the foster care system gets the voice he/she needs. Founded in 1980, they are ranked in the top 3 of nearly 1,000 CASA programs in the nation. Last year, Voices for Children staff and more than 1,600 volunteers together advocated on behalf of more than 3,400 children in San Diego and Riverside Counties. In 2017, CASA volunteers reported 73,150 donated hours, which is valued at more than $2.08 million.
In 1980, Voices for Children was founded by a law student, Kathryn Ashworth, and a social worker, Elizabeth Bacon. These two young women were inspired by the plight of children in foster care and decided to take action. Their goal as volunteer advocates was to help the judges make the best decisions for children who had no one to speak up for them. The group embraced the volunteer advocate model created in Seattle in 1977, joined the National CASA Association (Court Appointed Special Advocate), and began training CASAs in 1983.
Today, Voices for Children continues to train CASA volunteers and match them with a foster child or sibling group. CASA volunteers communicate with the lawyers, teachers, caregivers, and social workers involved with their appointed foster child, and advocate for their children to the judges on the case. CASA volunteers help make critical decisions for a child’s future including if they return to school, go back to live with their parents, or help courts choose a foster family.
All CASA volunteers must enroll in Advocate University, an intensive 35 hour training that covers everything from dependency laws, child trauma, and how to best interact with caregivers and social workers. Volunteers don’t necessarily need to have any experience as a social worker before they start CASA training. With over 100 kids on their waitlist, Voices for Children is always looking to bring on additional CASA volunteers. Right now, they have an intense need for more male volunteers and more spanish-speaking volunteers. As a client of Mission Edge, Voices for Children can spend their time recruiting and training additional CASA volunteers, while our team of expert finance consultants manage their finances.
“Mission Edge is an extension of our wonderful team at Voices for Children.” says John Valencia, President & CEO of Voices for Children. “They bring a wealth of knowledge and resources to help us maximize our staff’s time and remain focused on our mission to improve the lives of local foster children.”
If you are interested in learning more about CASA volunteering, the first step is to attend an information session where you can hear more about the role and what it involves. You can also support Voices for Children’s social enterprise by shopping on their online Starfish Store. They sell starfish ornaments, paperweights, and Voices for Children apparel. Find out how you can get involved with Voices for Children here.