Assemblyman Tom Lackey (R-High Desert) recently chose CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Los Angeles as nonprofit of the year.
CASA volunteers serve as a friend of the court and provide advocacy to children and families who are in LA County’s foster care and juvenile justice systems. CASA/LA pairs their volunteers with children to ensure they receive equitable access to resources to live productive and meaningful lives.
These volunteers advocate for the best interest of children using their voice in the community and in the court. This is a critical resource for the court when considering the heavy caseload that social workers and children’s attorneys carry.
Charity Chandler-Cole, who serves as the Chief Executive Officer of CASA/LA, and Tammy Dietrich, who manages the Antelope Valley office, joined Lackey in Sacramento this week for a luncheon celebrating nonprofits from around the state. Each Assembly Member and Senator chose one organization to honor.
“I believe that CASA/LA is an exceptional organization that provides much needed mentorship and advocacy to our vulnerable youth… They are California’s children and we should all work together to support and uplift them as they reconcile traumatic circumstance,” Lackey said.
“As a leader in the field of child welfare and juvenile justice, CASA/LA is incredibly grateful to Assemblyman Tom Lackey for this important recognition,” Chandler-Cole said. “This acknowledgment will not only help raise awareness and strengthen CASA/LA’s life-changing advocacy in LA County, it will also help bring more attention to our work in Antelope Valley and the children who are in urgent need of our support.”
Los Angeles is home to the largest child welfare population in the country. There are approximately 500 cases in the Antelope Valley region referred to the Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) each month. Every child served by a CASA volunteer is connecting with a stable adult dedicated to making a positive impact on their lives.
“These relationships help move children away from dependency and help them grow into responsible adults,” Lackey said. “We need more CASAs in LA and beyond to minimize the number of justice-involved youth… I am so thankful for the opportunity to spotlight this organization and their important work”.
Lackey has worked with CASA/LA to push through his audit of the Child Abuse Central Index (CACI) to ensure that those entrusted with authorized contact with children do not have a background abusing or neglecting children. CASA uses CACI to screen applicants applying to serve as volunteers.
[Information via news release from the office of Assemblyman Tom Lackey.]