You don’t have to work in child welfare or be a parent to help children in foster care.

There are lots of ways to put your valuable abilities to work for raising awareness and advocating on behalf of waiting children.

As a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer, you’re empowered by the courts to advocate on behalf of a child in foster care. You don’t have to be a lawyer or social worker.

The work done by CASAs involves gathering information from everyone in a child’s life, including parents, relatives, foster parents, teachers, medical professionals, attorneys, social workers, and others. This information will then be used to inform judges of what the child needs and what will be the best permanent home for them.

To be a CASA, you simply need to:
• Pass a background check
• Participate in a 30-hour pre-service training course
• Stay with a case until it’s closed (approximately 1.5 years on average)

Learn more about becoming a CASA

Becoming a mentor or tutor for a child in Resource Family is a great way to make the difference of a lifetime for children in need of permanency. There are lots of different ways to mentor children of all ages.

  • Become a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) — Serving as a CASA is a great opportunity to be part of the Child Welfare Team that ensures the safety and stability of children in the custody of the court. The CASA volunteer develops a supportive relationship with a child, and makes recommendations for the disposition of the case based on the child’s total circumstances.
  • Volunteer with Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Santa Barbara County — Big Brothers and Big Sisters are community leaders, professionals, college students, military personnel, retirees, married couples and other caring adults, sharing fun, basic activities and the presence of a caring adult.
  • Mentor Former Foster Youth — California Youth Connection (CYC) is a non-profit organization that was created and lead by current and emancipated foster youth. There are over 30 CYC chapters state wide that gives foster youth age 14-24 an opportunity to learn leadership skills, empowerment, and a sense of unity. CYC relies on the involvement of Adult Supporters, committed to provide CYC youth with practical and mentoring support. By working as one, CYC will change the system that raised them.
  • Independent Living Program (ILP) — Family Care Network, Inc. is our provider for the Independent Living Program. Help teens aging out of Resource Family with basic life skills through different Independent Living Skills programs offered through a variety of program options:
  • Department of Social Services — you can be a volunteer at Child Welfare Services, and support the daily activities that keep children in safe and stable home environments.

The needs of our kids in foster care are no different from the needs of children in the community. The difference is in addition to managing a history of trauma and neglect, many children and youth in foster care have very little to call their own. Everything from back-to-school supplies, toys, sports supplies and formal outfits so that youth can attend Homecoming or Prom. Children and youth in foster care need the community’s help so that they can meet the daily, everyday demands of childhood such as learning to wait in line, finishing a math assignment on a computer or tablet or making it on time to soccer or swimming practice, are made easier for a child in foster care if he or she has the necessary equipment to learn to be successful.

We recognize that fostering parents and kinship caregivers need additional support to create a stable, nourishing environment for the children in their care. Here is a sample of items children and youth in foster care typically need:

· Coordinated outfits – top, bottom, coat, hat, etc.
· Coloring books and other art supplies
· Computer tablets
· Recreational activities – for example soccer or swim clubs, camperships or after school sports
· Funds to move away for college

Whatever you can give will go a long way, whether it’s a donation of money or supplies directly to an organization in your area, or organizing a fundraising or donation drive. We are grateful for all that you provide and want to support you in as many ways as possible.

If you can donate clothing or other child/youth friendly items, or know of a local business or organization willing to partner with us to provide discounted resources, please let us know!

As a business leader in the community, you know it takes hard work and a little help along the way to succeed.

There are many foster youth in Santa Barbara County that need a mentor or supporter to inspire them! As businesses and community leaders, you can help our local foster youth.

Contact Our County. Our Kids. team to learn more about how you can become a business partner, mentor and resource for foster youth to learn from and grow to their full potential.

Learn more about Inspire.

Do you live outside of Santa Barbara County?

Use the National Foster Care and Adoption Directory to find agencies where you live that could benefit from your services.

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