PIEDMONT CASA ANNUAL IMPACT REPORT
Fiscal Year 2021 - July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021
Hope may be the most important thing Piedmont CASA Volunteers inspire in their kids.
A new study shows that kids with CASA Volunteers are more hopeful. And when kids have hope, outcomes improve. They have more academic success, enhanced well-being, increased self-control, positive social relationships, and optimism -- tools they need to change their story.
The Kids We Served
It was her birthday, but she gave her CASAs the best gift
Sarah’s foster family was planning a Sweet Sixteen party for her. But Sarah has no contact with her birth family and finds it difficult to trust anyone. She only invited two people to the party, and they are the adults she trusts the most: her CASA Volunteer and her Bridges to Success Coach.
In addition to creating new needs, the pandemic and its attendant stresses exposed old ones, particularly systemic racism. We reaffirm our pledge: the safety and wellbeing of the children Piedmont CASA serves can only be assured when equity and justice are pillars of our advocacy. Piedmont CASA is committed to doing this work, step-by-step, for as long as it takes.
More than 89% of PCASA kids come from homes surviving at or below the federal poverty line. Living in poverty increases the risk of being drawn into the child welfare system. The representation of children and families of color in the child welfare system is disproportionate to their numbers in the general population.
In response to these statistics, we increased our commitment to diversify our Volunteer base so that it could more accurately reflect our CASA children and youth. To chart this course, we began with our Board and made a concerted effort to recruit members from diverse backgrounds. Today, this focus has resulted in our eight-member Board including three people of color. Diversity not only of background, but also of lived experience, will continue to drive our recruitment of Board members.
Changing the profile of 100+ currently active Volunteers will take time, but there are other ways we are effecting change now. In both pre-service and in-service training, we help guide Volunteers in identifying their own privilege and implicit biases. We also show them how to recognize oppression when it appears within the child welfare system, such as in housing, healthcare, the court system, departments of social services, and educational opportunity. By arming our Volunteers with critical awareness, knowledge, and skills, they can be more effective when they challenge and resist the status quo and push for change.
In an effort to move the goals highlighted above and others forward in a purposeful way that is in line with our mission and values, Piedmont CASA is embarking on a strategic planning process. Over the coming months, we will be taking an intentional look at what we hope to achieve as an organization in the future. This work will be informed by our focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion at every stage.
Climbing the walls to reduce anxiety
At 16-years-old, Brock had been through five placements in three years. He had high anxiety, no relationship with his biological family, and was very slow to trust adults. Twelve months ago, he started working with a Bridges Coach and now he is in a stable foster home. Recently, Brock's Coach took him to a rock climbing gym - and he was a natural. He said his anxiety fell away as he climbed. Thanks to his Bridges Coach, Brock is finding new places in the world that are just right for him.
Piedmont CASA Volunteer Highlights
In FY 2021, ninety-nine PCASA Volunteers
advocated for kids in our community
who had been placed in foster care
due to underlying allegations of
abuse and neglect.
They invested 8,921 hours working
for their boys and girls - a time
investment valued at over
one-quarter of a million dollars.
8,921 x $28.54 = $254,605.34
Based on Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services Hourly Rate.
They attended 242 hearings
for their children and youth.
They submitted 111 court reports.
There were 613 recommendations
in those court reports - including
requests for medical, emotional,
and educational support.
Judges accepted 586 of the
recommendations - 95.6%.
No wonder research shows that
kids who have CASA Volunteers
do better in school, receive more
medical and therapeutic support,
and spend less time in foster care.
Volunteers Who Served in FY 2021
Bridges to Success Highlights
Keeping her head above water
Josephine had just enrolled at Piedmont Virginia Community College (PVCC) when she had a mental health crisis and was hospitalized. Missing classes put her at risk for being removed from enrollment, and that added to her stress. Knowing that, her Bridges Coach contacted everyone: the Dean of Student Services, the Office for Students with Disabilities, and Great Expectations. They all worked together to make sure Josephine could stay enrolled - and receive supports from PVCC upon her release. The CASA Volunteer gave Josephine a bright spot to look forward to, and that gave her hope.
Donors and Friends
Gifts received between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021
We thank our many supporters for their generous gifts to Piedmont CASA. If an error or omission has occurred, we express our sincere regret and ask that it be brought to our attention. If you would like copies of Piedmont CASA's financial statements, please call the Office at 434-971-7515.
Getting her own wheels to commute to work
Sometimes it takes a little boost from Bridges to Success coaches to help CASA youth transition from foster care to adulthood. Tanya was supported by a Bridges Coach throughout her Community Attention Youth Internship. After earning her certification, she obtained a position but had no way to get to and from work - until her Bridges Coach helped her secure a bicycle through Community Bikes. Now Tanya proudly uses her new wheels to commute to her job downtown.
Learning is hard when you're always hungry
Jack was in a kinship placement when his CASA Volunteer discovered that he was going to school hungry. Having just attended Piedmont CASA's "Close to Home" webinar on food insecurity, she was able to connect the family with the resources they needed to have enough to eat. When children are suffering from food insecurity, it is hard for them to do well in school. It's hard to concentrate, or even stay awake. Having enough to eat is one of the most basic building blocks for enabling Jack to do better in school.
Keeping families together
Monica was in a residential facility and, unknown to her, her relatives were not on the approved “call list" for her. As a result of being unable to reach one another, each side concluded that the other side was mad at them.
This literal breakdown in communication came to the attention of Monica's CASA Volunteer, who quickly advocated for the relatives to be put on Monica's "call list". The facility dropped the ball the first time around, but the CASA Volunteer persisted. Finally Monica and her family were able to re-open lines of communication.
During all of this, Monica had been close to turning 18 and aging out of the system. If the CASA Volunteer hadn't stepped in, she would have done so without any connections or support from her extended family.