As part of the Continuum of Care Reform (CCR) initiative, California refocused its efforts on raising children in families and bringing all the people in a family’s life together to support the child and family.
A major component of CCR, was the formation of
Child and Family Teams (CFTs).
These teams were to come together to “identify the strengths and needs of the child or youth and his or her family, and to help achieve positive outcomes for safety, permanency, and well-being.” -Welfare and Institutions Code Section 16501. The teams were to be comprised of the child or youth, the family, people important to the child or family and
. Court Appointed Special Advocates are formal supports and were often people that families and children specifically wanted at their CFT meetings. However, during implementation of CCR, CASAs haven’t been routinely or universally invited to participate in these meetings. Some, but not all, CASAs were being included in the child and family teams across California and programs, and CASA volunteers and youth themselves wanted to make sure that youth who have a CASA could have their advocate by their side.
Senator Beall introduced the bill in January. Governor Brown signed the bill last Friday morning.
SB 925 officially adds CASA by name as one of the members of the CFT.
SB 925 states that the child and family team shall include “The child or youth’s Court Appointed Special Advocate, if one has been appointed, unless the child or youth objects.”
This is great news for you as an advocate. You may find the CFT meeting one of the best opportunities to advocate for your youth. Your advocate supervisor will help you as needed to ensure that you are included.