Placing a Child First
Monterey County is home to more than four hundred foster children and youth. These children and youth are legally removed from their homes due to unsafe conditions from:
- severe neglect
- physical abuse
- and/or sexual abuse.
Children and youth who are growing up in the foster care system face unique challenges and are in need of many support systems as they grow. They are
often moved from place to place and do not have a secure family support structure. Nationwide, approximately 80% of dependency children end up as delinquents.
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Monterey County is the only local nonprofit of its kind that recruits, trains, and supports community volunteers to serve as court appointed advocates for abused and neglected foster children throughout Monterey County. CASA of Monterey County exists so that abused and neglected children in protective care have the chance to become successful adults.
There is hope!
Upon completion of training, a CASA volunteer is appointed by the Superior Court Family Judge to a child in dependency. The CASA volunteer is required to get to know the child, speak with the child’s social worker, educator, therapist, attorney, caregiver, family members, and anyone else connected to the child, in order to get a clear picture of the child’s best interests, and to be able to advocate for those best interests and report back to the judge.
CASA of Monterey County had its genesis in 1994, when a steering committee formed to address the “increasing violence towards children,” and “family disintegration” throughout Monterey County, in a “cost efficient and effective way to increase advocacy for children caught in the dependency system.”
In 1995, CASA of Monterey County incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and named Ms. Rosalie Ferrante as its first executive director. Initial funding of $77,000 was provided by the National CASA Association. The first volunteer advocate training class graduated December 16, 1996. The first nine CASA of Monterey County advocates were sworn in by the Honorable Robert Hinrichs.
Governed by a board of directors, CASA of Monterey County is affiliated and in good standing with the California CASA Association and the National CASA Association of more than 900 community-based programs, and over 76,000 volunteers serving more than 251,000 children nationwide.