CASA of Santa Cruz County is evolving to better serve the youth and families of our community. One significant new initiative is the formation of our Community Council, including the Legislative Advocacy Team (LAT). The Community Council is comprised of community volunteers and CASA staff with lived experience in the Juvenile Court System, either in the foster care or juvenile probation system. This group of volunteers want to make changes in our county and build bridges to provide the children/youth and their families opportunities to help them grow and succeed. Our goals are to address systemic issues in our community, speak with state and local officials, and be a bridge between programs and resources here in our community so that we can make a meaningful impact in our region.
The mission statement of the Community Council is:
‘We represent system-impacted youth and their families, and our goal is to address systemic issues in our region by collaborating with existing entities and political figures whose goal aligns with the impact we seek to make.’
We hope to achieve this by collaborating with community supporters, entities, and elected officials whose goals align with the impact we seek to make. This involves creating workshops, reviewing data that shed light on issues we would like to address, and having open discussions with each other.
Since the Community Council was created in September of 2023 we have met up twice or more times a month to discuss various issues. System-impacted youth and invited elected officials have helped us understand how we can be effective in our future endeavors. We have decided to participate in the California CASA Legislative Advocacy Team so that we can not only bring heart with us when we speak to our elected officials, but we can also become more knowledgeable and involved in our community.