The SFCASA Report

On Thursday, September 28th SFCASA Executive Director Renee Espinoza and Board member Harry Turner hosted our first SFCASA Report webinar. The webinar detailed the progress we've made on our four-year strategic plan and 25th Anniversary Campaign, shared the touching story of Harry's time as a CASA volunteer and his relationship with Tae, his young person, and outlined the core model of the CASA program. View the recording of the video call below.

For more information on the 25th Anniversary Campaign, click here.

Nemo, SFCASA's New Courthouse Dog, Sworn-in

On Friday, August 25th, Superior Court Judge Nancy L. Davis swore in Nemo, a two year old black lab who will serve as SFCASA's new Courthouse Facility Dog. Media, attorneys, judges, and supporters were in attendance as Nemo raised his paw and became the newest member of the San Francisco CASA team. Nemo is a highly trained facility dog who will attend court proceedings to bring calm and support to children and families. Nemo was generously provided to SFCASA by Canine Companions for Independence. 

Welcome to our newest class of advocates!

On Thursday, February 23rd San Francisco Superior Court Judge Nancy Davis swore in a class of 31 advocates who are now ready to match with a child and begin the journey of a CASA volunteer. This most recent class brings our total of new advocates trained and sworn in to 96 for the program year, well on our way to surpass our goal of 109! With these new advocates, we know we'll also exceed our goal of serving 280 youth this year.

Our group of advocates has a wide range of professional experience, including a nurse, physical therapist, attorney, and financial analyst. They have completed 40 hours of training and will be matching with their youth in the coming weeks. We are especially excited to welcome 11 men in this new class, an SFCASA record! Take a look at some of the photos from last night's event:

A Message from SFCASA Executive Director Renee Espinoza

Dear Friends,

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This New Year’s message is different. With news of today’s inauguration everywhere, I’ve been reflecting on what the future holds for our children in foster care.

As someone whose communities have been disparaged and attacked this year, I have felt this political change more personally than any other in my lifetime. Still, I am more determined than ever to provide our youth with a voice, ensure their rights are upheld, and promote their well-being for a safe and happy childhood.

It seems possible that the Federal government will make real cuts to existing housing and family programs, putting additional stress on families. And we know that stress is the most common precursor to abuse and neglect. I am also extremely concerned that changes in the juvenile or criminal justice system could mean more of our young people may be punished just when they need support, extending cycles of poverty, crime and abuse.

Despite my fears, I am heartened by how our own community is responding. This week we begin the largest CASA training class in my four-year tenure, a diverse class of our neighbors who are committing to making a difference right here in San Francisco. And this December we saw an outpouring of financial support, with many individuals providing unsolicited support to us for the first time. We received heartfelt notes, many expressing sentiments like “I had to do something positive.” and “I felt helpless and know that change starts locally.”

I'm proud of the growth of our programs this past year – in 2016 we trained more new volunteer advocates than at any other time in our 25-year history. We’re also having increased impact on the individuals we are serving and our most vulnerable communities. I feel fortunate for what I’d describe as the most committed, effective, generous board of directors I’ve ever worked with and a staff that is second to none.

I also generally believe that the decisions our cities, counties and states are making are more important and impact us more directly than most any change implemented by the Federal government. Still, I fear that we may slide back. I know that past cuts in social programs and services have resulted in an explosion of homeless and insecure families – and more abused children – and we have to brace ourselves and fight similar mistakes.

What gives me hope is seeing how many of our community members are stepping up to make a difference and knowing that there are opportunities for everyone. We are not helpless. We may not be able to directly impact the cabinet nomination process, but we can make a difference right here, the kind of difference that builds real change.

So I ask you, our CASA community, to join me and encourage everyone you know to join in, step up, and make our communities better. I am sharing three opportunities and ask you to share these with your network. Whether you or your friends opt for these or other opportunities, please join me in nurturing hope over helplessness.

1.       Become a foster parent – we know that a loving home is the best place for a child. Visit for more information.

2.       Become a CASA volunteer – by investing a few hours a week, you can directly impact a child. Visit for a schedule of volunteer info sessions.

3.       Become a Champion for Children – by making a monthly gift, you allow us to plan responsibly for growth to ensure more children have the support of a caring, consistent adult. Visit

We are lucky to call the Bay Area home, and we all have talents and resources that can make change.

Yours in community,

Renee Espinoza

Executive Director