By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Bipartisan Effort Protects CASA Program Funding

Legislators have reported a significant victory in the fight to preserve funding for the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program. Senator Marie Alvarado-Gil (D-Jackson), a champion for children’s rights, successfully led a joint request supported by 41 lawmakers from both houses and parties, urging the Appropriations Committee to reject Governor Gavin Newsom’s proposed $40 million funding cut to the CASA program. This critical funding supports volunteer advocacy for children who are legal wards of the State.

California is home to the largest number of children and youth in foster care nationwide. These young individuals have been removed from their parents or families due to abuse and/or neglect. By law, the courts and the State’s social services departments must step in and shield them from further harm. While professionals strive to ensure the well-being of each child, the courts and the child welfare system greatly benefit from the invaluable work of trained volunteer CASA advocates. Judges appoint these advocates to speak for youth who have suffered from abuse or neglect.

Extensive research has demonstrated the profound impact of CASA involvement in children’s lives. Children with a CASA are more likely to receive appropriate services, thrive academically, maintain psychological well-being, and find permanent adoptive homes instead of being moved between temporary placements.

“I am pleased to announce that our united bipartisan effort has successfully protected the funding for the CASA program,” stated Alvarado-Gil. “Governor Newsom’s proposed $40 million funding cut in the 2023 budget threatened the future of these vulnerable children. But today, we rejected this cut and continue our unwavering commitment to preserving CASA funding. Our objective is to reach more children, recruit and train additional volunteers, and provide stability to the dedicated network of providers who tirelessly work to improve the outcomes for foster children. We must invest in their well-being and foster hope for a brighter tomorrow.”

The request had the support of 41 lawmakers in both houses and parties.

“I am grateful for the collaborative effort exhibited by my colleagues, cutting across the political divide, who came together to amplify the voices of the most vulnerable children in our communities who cannot advocate for themselves,” explained Alvarado-Gil. “Together, we have made a powerful statement that California remains committed to protecting and supporting its foster youth.”

“I cannot understate the value CASA provides for the foster youth of California,” said Sen. Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita). “Ensuring our most vulnerable have access to the resources and care they need to thrive is a wise investment in their future, and the future of California.”