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 here.
Becoming a mentor or tutor for a child in foster care 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.
• Help a teen in foster care succeed in college through Foster Care to Success’ Academic Success Program
• Volunteer with Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Ventura County
• Help teens aging out of foster care with basic life skills through different programs offered through Casa Pacifica
Find out more about how to become a mentor here.
Many children in foster care have very little to call their own. Everything from back-to-school supplies, toys, and suitcases are needed by foster care organizations around the country. 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 recognize that fostering parents and kinship caregivers need additional support to create a stable, nourishing environment for the children in their care. We are grateful for all that you provide and want to support you in as many ways as possible.
• Clothing: Fostering families receive clothing allowances for the children in the home and access to additional clothes and goods through our community partners, who include Rachael’s Closet, James Storehouse and Heart 2 Heart.
• Free/ Discounted goods and services: Our local partnership with ifoster.org enables fostering and kinship caregivers access to a full range of free and discounted resources and goods throughout Ventura County. If you know of a local business or organization willing to partner with us to provide discounted resources and goods, please let us know!
• Extracurricular, enrichment and medical needs: Fostering families are able to request reimbursement through the Children’s Services Auxiliary and Hope 4 Kids/RaisingHOPE, Inc. for extra-curricular, educational, emergency needs and other child-centered activities.
• View the full list of organizations to donate to, and find more information here.
Ventura County partners with Channel Islands Social Services to offer formal respite care. Respite care workers provide foster and relative caregivers with short-term child care services that offer temporary relief, improve family stability, and reduce the risk of abuse or neglect. Respite can be planned or offered during emergencies or times of crisis.
Respite is available to foster and kinship families in need of support. Fostering families caring for children under the age of 10 are offered the opportunity to access 12 hours of free respite care service each month through Channel Islands Social Services to enable them to take time out to care for themselves and their needs.
“WOS & MOH, Inc. is a non-profit community service organization dedicated to providing support to young men and women that may have been incarcerated and/or in the foster care system.
We began operating in 1998 and have provided services to numerous men and women and their families in our community. We are supported through donations of individuals, churches, businesses and civic organizations.”
Foster VC Kids in partnership with congregations, faith communities and community organizations has launched an initiative called Faith in Motion. We seek to work collaboratively with communities of all faiths to increase the number of quality foster homes in the County who welcome children out of a sense of call, mission and love. Learn more!
As the old adage says, “It takes a village to raise a child” we would also add, it takes a grandparent. Fostering Grandparents are adults over age 50 who are committed to enjoying a foster child’s company and will offer support to a his/ her fostering caregivers.
• Attend sports games, recitals, showcases, award nights, graduations, etc.
• Attend birthday parties
• Bake or bring cookies or treats
• Provide wisdom and support to child and parents
• Connect child with resources, internships, etc. if appropriate
• Weekly phone calls
• Take child on outings (ice cream, movie, etc.)
• Provide respite care or babysitting
• Bring child to worship service (if the child chooses to do so)
Use the National Foster Care and Adoption Directory to find agencies where you live that could benefit from your services.