Child Advocates of Silicon Valley

Responding to COVID-19

Thursday, Apr 2, 2020

Update as of April 2, 2020 at 4:35PM

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. The form can also be accessed on our Remote Advocacy Guide under Remote Advocacy Resources.

Update as of April 2, 2020 at 10:00AM

An Online Resources for Students and Families During COVID-19 spreadsheet has been added to our Remote Advocacy Guide under Remote Advocacy Resources. This spreadsheet of online resources is being compiled by our partners at National Center for Youth Law. The spreadsheet includes, but is not limited to, skill building/educational resources, food resources, employment resources, and technology/internet access (free WiFi) resources. Click here to see the spreadsheet of online resources

Update as of April 1, 2020 at 1:00PM

The County of Santa Clara Public Health Department has updated and extended their Shelter-in-Place Order through May 3, 2020. As a result, the Child Advocates Main Office and Store - located at 509 Valley Way, Milpitas, CA - will remain closed during the duration of the order. Your CASA Specialist is available to answer any questions or concerns via email during regular business hours. Do not hesitate to contact them. If an issue arises outside of business hours, please use our CASA After Hours Emergency Line: 408-761-3437.

This blog will be updated with information as it becomes available. 

Update as of March 25, 2020 at 5:00PM

Read a letter from Child Advocates of Silicon Valley CEO, Frederick J Ferrer, thanking CASA volunteers for their hard work during the pandemic and providing updates on steps we're taking to prioritize the health of our foster children. Read the letter here

Update as of March 24, 2020 at 1:30PM

Child Advocates of Silicon Valley has created a Remote Advocacy Guide and a list of Virtual Activities and Ideas to assist CASA volunteers while adhering to the shelter in place order. These items will be updated regularly as we respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic; updates made to these items will be announced in this blog. The items are located on the Child Advocates website under the CASA Resources tab in the menu bar.

If you have any questions about the Remote Advocacy Guide or list of Virtual Activities and Ideas, please contact your CASA Specialist.    

Update as of March 16, 2020 at 3:20PM

The County of Santa Clara Public Health Department issued the following order today:

Order of the health officer of the County of Santa Clara directing all individuals living in the county to shelter at their place of residence except that they may leave to provide or receive certain essential services or engage in certain essential activities and work for essential businesses and governmental services; exempting individuals experiencing homelessness from the shelter in place order but urging them to find shelter and government agencies to provide it; directing all businesses and governmental agencies to cease non-essential operations at physical locations in the county; prohibiting all non essential gatherings of any number of individuals; and ordering cessation of all non-essential travel. This Order shall become effective at 12:01 a.m. on March 17, 2020 and will continue to be in effect until 11:59 p.m. on April 7, 2020, or until it is extended, rescinded, superseded, or amended in writing by the Health Officer. View the full directive.

As a result of this order, the Child Advocates Main Office and Store - located at 509 Valley Way, Milpitas, CA - will remain closed during the duration of the order. Your CASA Specialist is available to answer any questions or concerns via email during regular business hours. Do not hesitate to contact them. If an issue arises outside of business hours, please use our CASA After Hours Emergency Line: 408-761-3437.

This blog will be updated with information as it becomes available. 

Update as of March 13, 2020 at 4:00PM

Below are the latest updates pertaining to

  • our office closure

  • court hearings/proceedings

  • our recommended CASA volunteer interaction with children/youth

  • our communication plan with all of you moving forward   

Office Closure

The Child Advocates Main Office and Store - located at 509 Valley Way, Milpitas, CA - has been closed and will remain closed for the next two weeks; this is subject to change, given the fluidity of the situation. All Child Advocates staff have been instructed to work remotely from home during this time. Employees are responsible for continuing to serve our CASA volunteers during regular business hours and will continue to have access to emails.

Court Hearings and Proceedings

Judge Schwarz has given a new directive (changed from yesterday); judges are putting most cases on continuance. 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.  

Recommended Interaction with Children and Youth

Today, County Superintendent of School, Dr. Maryann Dewan has closed all public schools.  Although every District has a different Spring Break, we know that all schools will be closed for at least the next three weeks. That means that all our school age children and teens will be out of school and in their placements. 

As a social distancing prevention measure, I am advising that you DO NOT visit your advocate child/youth for the next three weeks. Instead, I am asking that you maintain your connection by scheduling telephone visits and increasing the number of times you connect electronically. So if you are usually visiting once a week, then perhaps two facetime or telephone calls can be scheduled. 

Our young people are going to be hearing about the virus, especially now that schools are closed, so they may have questions or fears and they will turn to you for your very important support. Should there be any extenuating circumstances about your need to visit your advocate child/youth, please contact your CASA Specialist. 

Communication Plan - How to Stay Informed

Please refer back to this blog as it will be updated regularly with the latest information available pertaining to:

  • our office closure

  • court hearings/proceedings

  • Child Advocates’ recommended CASA volunteer interaction with children/youth

  • resources (as they become available) on how to help children/youth cope with the stress of COVID-19 

A link to this blog is also pinned to the top of our Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn feeds. 

Additionally, CASA News will continue to go out every Friday and will contain the latest information available with regard to our COVID-19 response. 

Most importantly, your CASA Specialist is available to answer any questions or concerns via email during regular business hours. Do not hesitate to contact them. If an issue arises outside of business hours, please use our CASA After Hours Emergency Line: 408-761-3437.

 

Update as of March 12, 2020 at 1:00PM

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. 

Current measures we’ve taken:

  • The Child Advocates Main Office and Store - located at 509 Valley Way, Milpitas, CA - has been closed and will remain closed for the time being. 

  • All Child Advocates staff have been instructed to work remotely from home during this time. Employees are responsible for continuing to serve our CASA volunteers during regular business hours and will continue to have access to emails and voicemails.

  • Child Advocates’ Inaugural CASA Summit and Appreciation event, scheduled for March 21, 2020, has been postponed until a later date; information regarding a rescheduled date will be communicated when it becomes available.

Given the nature of our volunteer opportunity, Child Advocates is also in constant communication with representatives from the Santa Clara County Dependency Court to ensure we are doing what’s in the best interest of the children we serve, while being considerate of everyone’s health and safety. To date, the Court has advised the following to our CASA volunteers:

If you have a hearing coming up for your child you should still submit your written report. If you do not wish to attend your child's hearing, judges will rely on your written report. If you have an update after you submitted your report, please send a note with your update to your CASA supervisor and our Child Advocates Court liaison will convey it to the judge. You can still attend the hearing in person, so long as you are not ill or feeling symptomatic.

If you're a CASA volunteer and have any questions or concerns, please contact your CASA supervisor. You can also refer back to this communication for updates regarding our response to COVID-19.

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

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