Casa Pacifica’s Youth Advocates address the needs of Casa Pacifica’s youth who are preparing to emancipate, as well as those of Casa Pacifica alumni who have already emancipated. Each of Casa Pacifica’s Youth Advocates is a former foster youth, an important requirement in establishing trust with the current residents and alumni through their common experience.
Examples of services Youth Advocates provide to youth primarily fourteen years of age and older include:
• Coordinating emancipation conferences
• Gathering required legal documents prior to emancipation
• Enrolling youth in and making sure they attend Independent Living Program classes
• Attending treatment team meetings
• Coordinating on-campus Unity Council of youth, direct-care staff, Activities Dept. members, support counselors and Peer Advocates
• Overseeing youth volunteers/employees in the Development Department
• Supervising, organizing, and facilitating meetings of CITY Program participants
• Some case management of CITY Program participants
• Assistance in completing applications for college, job applications, scholarship applications, etc.
• Assistance in finding housing, when needed
• 24-hour availability by phone as other issues/emergencies arise
Youth Advocates can also provide transportation to doctor’s appointments, job interviews, court appearances, etc. When appropriate, the Youth Advocates encourage participation in the Ventura County chapter of the California Youth Connection (CYC) which is comprised of former and current foster youth who identify issues in the foster care system, develop solutions, and then present their ideas to State legislators.
Casa Pacifica’s Peer Advocate is also a former foster youth and provides assistance to residents of Casa Pacifica’s campus only. The Peer Advocate provides the same services as the Youth Advocates, at least those which are appropriate to the campus residents. The Peer Advocate, unlike the Youth Advocates, has contact with and is available to all the children placed at Casa Pacifica, no matter their age, to help them with any concerns or needs that arise.