Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, announced his success in helping protect $40 million from being cut from California’s Court Appointed Special Advocates program. The CASA program supports volunteer advocacy for children who are legal wards of the state.
“This is fantastic news,” Wilk said in a prepared statement. “The Antelope Valley is home to one-third of L.A. County’s foster youth. I know firsthand the value CASA provides for the foster youth of California. Ensuring our most vulnerable have access to the resources and care they need to thrive is a wise investment in their future, and the future of California.”
Wilk joined the bipartisan effort with Sen. Marie Alvarado-Gil, D-Jackson, and 40 legislators in sending an urgent letter to budget committees in April.
California is home to the nation’s largest number of foster youth, who have been removed from their parents or families due to abuse and neglect. By law, the courts and the state’s social services departments must step in and shield them from further harm.
Extensive research has demonstrated the profound impact of CASA involvement in children’s lives, according to the release from Wilk’s office. Children served by CASA are more likely to receive appropriate services, thrive academically, maintain psychological well-being, and find permanent adoptive homes instead of being moved between temporary placements, the statement said.
“Our foster youth deserve every leg up they can get,” Wilk added. “I will continue to support causes and legislation that ensure they don’t just get a shot at life, but opportunities to thrive.”