Child Advocates of Silicon Valley

Remote Advocacy Guide (COVID-19)

The health and safety of our staff, CASA volunteers, children, partners and community is of the utmost importance to Child Advocates of Silicon Valley. We have been closely monitoring the latest news pertaining to the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and are taking measures in line with recommendations from the County of Santa Clara’s Public Health Department that promote the health and well being of our staff, volunteers, children and community. 

In accordance with the Santa Clara County Public Health Department Order, Child Advocates of Silicon Valley is:

  • closing its offices and store and instructing staff to work remotely for the duration of the order. CASA Specialists are available to answer any questions or concerns via email during regular business hours. If an issue arises outside of business hours, please use our CASA After Hours Emergency Line: 408-761-3437.
  • advising CASA volunteers to NOT schedule any in-person visits with their advocate child/youth for the duration of the order. Should there be any extenuating circumstances about your need to visit your advocate child/youth, please contact your CASA Specialist at 408-761-3437.
  • asking CASA volunteers to maintain constant connection with their advocate child/youth by increasing the number of times you connect virtually (phone calls, texts, Face times, etc.). During this time, our children/youth will have questions and/or fears and will need the caring support of their CASA volunteer.
  • having every CASA supervisor reach out to their CASA volunteers to conduct a needs assessment of the child/youth they serve. Child Advocates will then use these assessments to connect CASA volunteers with the resources they need to support their child/youth during this challenging time. 

In addition, all in-person events, including the Inaugural CASA Summit (canceled), discussion groups and continuing education sessions, have now been canceled, postponed, or moved to an online format. Due to COVID-19 concerns, CASA volunteers should not go to court until further notice but should submit court reports as needed and attend hearings via conference calls when possible. Please coordinate with your supervisor.

We expect to update this guide regularly as new resources and advice become available; however, as always, please contact your CASA supervisor if you have any questions and concerns.

Protocol Updates

Court Hearing and Proceedings: the Santa Clara County Dependency Court is placing most cases on continuance for hearings. If you have an upcoming hearing, your specialist will send you an email with an update on its status. For cases not placed on continuance, judges have asked that we limit all people in the courtroom. Your written court report is more important than ever, please submit the report in lieu of attending the court hearing.  

Court Reports: it is important for the well being of our children that CASA volunteers continue to complete and submit their court reports. If you have concerns about your ability to complete your report, please contact your CASA supervisor as soon as possible.

Child Family Teams (CFTs): the Santa Clara County Department of Family and Children Services is currently holding CFTs virtually (mainly by phone).  All CASA should continue to receive the CFT notice. At the top in red it says that it's a telephonic conference. If you choose to participate, you should write back to ALL on that email and state your name, connection (CASA for XXXXX), and ask to be called at XXX-XXX-XXXX when the CFT begins. This will ensure your inclusion in the CFT. 

Remote Advocacy Resources

Virtual Activities/Visits: while phone calls and FaceTimes are great, we have gathered some other virtual activities/ideas you can do with your child/youth. Click here to see list of activities/ideas

Educational Consultations: educational consultations have been cancelled for the time being and may not resume and/or be rescheduled until after the district’s spring break. Contracting agencies will be reviewing records remotely and provide any feedback, questions, recommendations etc. that they are able to provide CASA volunteers, so that families feel that their concerns are being addressed in some fashion during this time. The Educational Services Unit is available to answer questions as they arise, so please do not hesitate to reach out, as you will receive a response. Contact Info: EdSU@ssa.sccgov.org.

Pivotal Coaching: Pivotal Coaches will continue their work with scholars remotely using phone, text, and video conferencing. Pivotal Scholarship application deadline has been extended to May 1st. All current Pivotal Scholars are eligible for unlimited, free online tutoring. Pivotal is exploring ways to distribute scholarship payments during school closures. Pivotal is also exploring how they can provide emergency financial assistance to Scholars who are experiencing hardship. Please have Scholars contact their Pivotal Coach to let them know of their needs, whether it is for financial assistance, technology needs to support their education, etc. 

Free WiFi/Internet: Comcast/Xfinity now has a phone number you can call to get free internet if you don’t already have it. Your children need internet to do their online assignments from their teachers. Visit www.internetessentials.com or call 1-855-846-8376 for English and 1-855-765-6995 for Spanish. 

Free Cell Phones for Foster Teens and Non-minor Dependents: Thanks to our partners at iFoster, Child Advocates can help CASA volunteers obtain a FREE cell phone for foster teens and non-minor dependents in need of a cell phone. The phones come with unlimited data and voice. Youth will be able to connect to Zoom, Google Classroom and Video Chat so that they can stay up to date with their school curriculum. CASAs assigned to a teen or non-minor dependent can fill out this form to request a cell phone.

Online Resources for Students and Families During COVID-19: Our partners at National Center for Youth Law are compiling a useful spreadsheet of resources. The spreadsheet includes, but is not limited to, skill building/educational resources, food resources, employment resources, mental health resources and technology/internet access (free WiFi) resources. Click here to see the spreadsheet of resources

COVID-19 Updates and Resources

To learn more about the latest news pertaining to COVID-19, please use the links below:

To learn more about Child Advocates of Silicon Valley's operations, safety measures, and event postponements during this time, please visit our Responding to COVID-19 blog