The highest percentage of hospitalizations among youth ages 0-17 in California was for mental health reasons in 2017. Mental diseases and disorders accounted for 14% of hospitalization, as measured by discharges. Our Mental & Behavioral Health specialty area helps Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Volunteers understand how to recognize signs that may indicate the need for intervention and works with CASAs to engage children/youth in therapy. More than 10% of kids under 5 in California have a disability or special need that may impact their ability to play and learn. Our Special Needs specialty area promotes the capacity of CASAs to effectively advocate for children with special needs, engages children and CASAs in social and learning opportunities and collaborates with systems and providers to ensure access to and coordination of services
Being in the dependency system is traumatic enough for most children and teens, but LGBTQ+ youth in foster care have the added layer of trauma that comes with being rejected or mistreated because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. The LGBTQ+ specialty area promotes cultural competence in the issues our youth face. We focus on areas of concern for our youth and best practices for working through these barriers.
Some dependency youth are involved in two legal systems, therefore they’re called “Dually Involved Youth”. The DIY specialty area promotes the prevention of justice involvement and the continued education support for those already involved.
A Non-Minor Dependent (NMD) is a current non-minor under the jurisdiction of the Dependency Court. The NMD specialty area promotes our Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Volunteer’s ability to support NMDs in the key areas of: academics, employment, financial literacy and housing.
Adolescence is the period of developmental transition between childhood and adulthood. It involves changes in personality, as well as in physical, intellectual and social development. Ages 13 – 17 specialty area supports our Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Volunteer’s expertise by providing training in how to properly support teens in the key areas of academics, personal growth and transitional needs.
The Ages 6-12 specialty area is built on the foundation of providing educational support and enrichment activities, connection to socialization opportunities and programs, incorporating Social Emotional Learning training and techniques, and healthy lifestyles inclusive of both mental and physical health.
Early experiences affect the development of brain architecture, which provides the foundation for all future learning, behavior and health. The Ages 0-5 specialty area promotes the healthy development and kindergarten readiness of children 0-5 years of age.