Serve children who have experienced abuse and neglect in the foster care system by providing a trained, dedicated volunteer to advocate for child's best interests.
Web Site www.ChildAdvocatesSV.org
Ava was three and a half years old when she entered the Dependency Court System in June of 2019. Her parents were both struggling with addiction and Ava was removed and placed into a foster home because of the drug use and neglect in the home. After her initial placement, Ava moved again and was placed with her aunt, uncle and cousins. Not long after that move, a new adult entered her life, her Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Volunteer, Karen.
In getting to know Ava, Karen learned that she loved to visit the park and the local library. In March, when the pandemic changed the world, Karen didn’t let that stop her from seeing Ava or from building their connection. Ava’s aunt helped by setting up zoom visits where Karen used games and other activities to keep Ava engaged. When it was safe to do so, they met in person again to have picnics and Karen planned scavenger hunts in public spaces. This past summer the two utilized Child Advocates of Silicon Valley’s new partner memberships to visit Happy Hollow Park & Zoo and the Children’s Discovery Museum multiple times. Exploring new things with each visit.
As they grew closer, Ava began to share questions and statements about her living situation, wondering if she would go back to a foster home or possibly return to her mother. Being moved several times is difficult for any person, but especially for a young child. Karen was able to offer thoughtful insight to the family about the feelings Ava expressed. Karen offered suggestions and worked with Ava’s aunt and uncle to make the transition smoother for everyone. Karen made sure that Ava’s perspective was better understood by the family.