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We are extremely excited to announce our new partnership with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Community Fund. The CZI Community Fund aims to help the most pressing needs of Bay Area families and individuals. We are thrilled to share they have awarded us a grant to support our CASA foster youth.

Working with Adult Weary Children and Youth

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Our CASA volunteers make a commitment to work with children in the foster care system, serving as advocates and mentors.  This is hard work that comes with inherent challenges.  The primary challenge is how to build trust with children who have become distrustful of adults, children who have not always had reasons to trust that adults will come through for them.

That is why we at CASA of San Mateo County works hard to prepare and support our volunteers for the basic task of building trust with children who have experienced multiple traumas in their lives.  Luckily, we tend to attract volunteers who have the emotional intelligence and relationship skills necessary to do this work well.  While many, but not all, of the children we serve have processed their traumas in a way that has led to difficulty trusting adults, the blog post below, intended for educators, is a great reminder of why children from the most difficult backgrounds put up the greatest barriers to interpersonal connection.  These two citations from the post are particularly good reminders: 

The behavior of relationship-resistant youth is functional and purposeful. In other words, the young person is trying to accomplish something and the adult’s challenge is to detect what that might be (Anderson & Seita, 2005).

Problem behavior is often a means of coping with a world filled with danger, abuse, neglect, and abandonment. Seen in that light, problems can be a sign of health, energy, self-preservation, and self-determination. ( Seita, 2005)

http://www.acesconnection.com/blog/teaching-adult-wary-children-and-youth

 

 

Foster Children Need Male Role Models

The Daily Journal just ran a piece highlighting the need for male CASA volunteers in the Bay Area.  While roughly 50% of the children in the foster care system are boys, only 19% of our volunteers are male.  Attracting men to sign up as CASA volunteers is a challenge nationally.  For whatever reason, more women come to our program (thank you, ladies).  The men we do get are top notch and have the same depth of participation and engagement as the women.  Organizationally, we are working hard to get more men in the door.

Part of that effort is a collaboration among 10 Bay Area CASA programs to target male recruitment to move needle on male CASA volunteers.  On our press page you will find a press release highlighting this effort.  

From Incarceration to Education

CASA volunteers find themselves playing a critical role in supporting a sorely needed post-secondary education program for juvenile offenders.  For nearly three months a group of CASA volunteers found themselves at the Youth Service Center (YSC) every Tuesday and Thursday morning.