Be a Voice for LA's Foster Care Children!

submission by kmcguiness

About Your Application

Organization(s) name(s):

CASA of Los Angeles

Organization(s) website(s):

Organization(s) twitter handle(s):

Organization(s) facebook handle(s):

Organization(s) instagram handle(s):

Please share the direct link for voters to sign up for your newsletter(s):

Describe Your Organization(s)

Non-profit organization

For-profit organization


Other (please specify below):

In one sentence, please describe what your organization does.


CASA/LA recruits and trains Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) to advocate for and support abused or neglected foster care children in the courtroom and in all areas of their lives.

In one to three sentences, please describe your proposal.


The 30,000 children under the care of the Dependency Court in L.A. County are frightened and confused, and in desperate need of support and advocacy services - a need that trained volunteers fill by building a relationship with a child in foster care, and working with the Court to determine the best strategies to support him or her. CASA/LA will recruit 550 more volunteers by the end of 2017 to help these children navigate the trials of the courtroom - and the trials of a challenged childhood.

Where will you be working? Please be specific (e.g. Third Street Middle School; Boyle Heights; LA County).

Central LA

East LA

San Gabriel Valley

San Fernando Valley

South LA


South Bay

Antelope Valley

County of Los Angeles (countywide)

City of Los Angeles (citywide)


Other (please specify below):

e.g. Third Street Middle School; Boyle Heights; LA County:

CASA of Los Angeles helps children in foster care from everywhere in Los Angeles County.

How do you plan to use these resources to make change? (check all that apply)

Conduct research

Engage residents and stakeholders

Implement a pilot or new project

Expand a pilot or program

Mobilize for systems change

Advocate with policymakers and leaders

Implement and track policy

Other (please specify below):


Recruit and train Angelenos to advocate for our city's most vulnerable children.

How will your proposal improve the following “Connect” metrics? (check all that apply)

Rates of volunteerism

Voting rates by race

Adults getting sufficient social & emotional support

Median travel time to work

Attendance at cultural events

Number of public transit riders

Participation in neighborhood councils

Percentage of Angelenos that volunteer informally (Dream Metric)

Government responsiveness to residents’ needs (Dream Metric)

Transit-accessible housing and employment (the share of housing units and percentage of jobs that are located near transit)

Total number of local social media friends and connections (Dream Metric)

Attendance at public/open streets gatherings (Dream Metric)

Residential segregation (Dream Metric)

Access to free wifi (Dream Metric)

Describe in greater detail how you will make LA the best place to connect.


Nelson Mandela once said, "There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children." For LA's abused and neglected children, LA's soul is revealed to be diverse, hopeful, challenged, determined, and sadly, in desperate need of connection. CASA/LA creates a connection between an adult volunteer and a neglected child that transforms the volunteer’s life as much as it changes the child’s. CASA of Los Angeles unites these multiple generations, responding to the needs of our community’s most vulnerable children with the knowledge of our city’s most brilliant, compassionate, and committed adults.

Being a CASA is unlike any other volunteer opportunity in the city. CASAs become a critical part of the foster care youth's life - they get to know their families and caregivers, they work with their teachers and counselors, they connect them to services and advocate for what they need in the courtroom, and they create a stable, long-term relationship with the child without ever being paid to do so.

Every child faces challenges in life. From homework to bullies, from fights with their siblings to issues with their parents, but for children in foster care, every single one of those problems is magnified, overwhelming children who already struggle with resiliency. They are alone and afraid. They have often been removed from a traumatic home life only to be transferred to a strange placement with strange people, having to negotiate not only the social rules of a new school, but a whole new family, adults and children alike.

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 became pregnant by age 17
• 27% of the homeless population spent time in foster care
• 25% of youth aging out of foster care will be incarcerated within two years

There is no more critical cause through which Angelenos can connect than its most vulnerable children - children who have no voice. Through LA2050, CASA will recruit and train 250 new volunteers in FY2016, and 300 new volunteers in FY2017, a significant increase over any previous year. In the next few years, CASA plans to serve 10% of the 30,000 children in the foster care system. By connecting Angelenos, we can make that goal happen, revealing the compassion and commitment that is Los Angeles.

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.


CASA/LA currently tracks all key data elements, i.e. how many children we serve, how many CASAs are serving said youth, the number of children on our waitlist, and how many more CASA volunteers are needed to serve that waitlist. In addition, we also track case progress. When a case is assigned, both the Senior Program Coordinator and the CASA volunteer will examine the case and will rate the status and level of risk of the child on a baseline scale along the three core dimensions of safety, permanency and wellbeing. We will be documenting in the database the initial assessment related to these dimensions; the advocacy goals and plans (steps and procedures to be implemented); the degree to which the plan is then implemented; and how the assessment of safety, permanency, and wellbeing measures changes over time. The overall goal of CASA/LA’s evaluation plan is to determine if inputs are leading to effective outcomes.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed? (check all that apply)

Money (financial capital)

Volunteers/staff (human capital)

Publicity/awareness (social capital)

Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles, etc.)


Technical infrastructure (computers, etc.)

Community outreach

Network/relationship support

Quality improvement research

Other (please specify below):

11 Pink talk bubble tail c96b4a07ef1417e25d0bcf5c4cba4766b8bbf0382f07677990a9d5577885d4d7

Helping foster kids survive and thrive through advocacy by committed volunteers: that's CASA-LA.

by eileenbs
5 months ago

II stand with CASA of Los Angeles - wonderful volunteers doing meaningful work to help foster kids survive and thrive.l eileenbs

by eileenbs
5 months ago

CASA's are my heros.

by kmvanhorn
6 months ago

my vote is for CASA

by Spencer2015
6 months ago

Go "CASA" a voice for the defenseless!

by luperamirez258
6 months ago

EVERY child deserves an advocate!

by glmercer
6 months ago

CASA of Ventura County supports CASA of LA, all the way!

by MiriamMack
6 months ago

CASA all the way!!!

by marcdavidherron
6 months ago

CASAs make such a huge difference in a child's life and in our community!

by danhanley
6 months ago

my vote is for CASA

by lawrence1900
6 months ago

Such a great organization. We need more CASAs!!

by theacademyproject
6 months ago

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Award topvotedidea 5a5ae14e3d56a10363ea2a398cece46cf4df891213cbe68677c19d8903a1932a
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Submission Began
Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Submission Ended
Tuesday, October 06, 2015
at 07:00 PM UTC

Circle 2 inactive 74a43088831beb43fdbd7591ef5d50a5a7a26ff92c9e8ed489782459fa31a8d9 Step2 title voting inactive 96be722f53c417edddb5742ba9a6dc2fd403f7e4f6c19dbe883d50d20d93689d

Voting Began
Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Voting Ended
Tuesday, November 03, 2015
at 08:00 PM UTC

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Winner Announced
Tuesday, December 08, 2015