The Bergen CASA Bulletin: March 2023

Executive Director’s Letter

Dear Friends,

As we celebrate our 20th Anniversary I am keenly aware of how much has changed over the past two decades particularly in our advocate training and funding. But before we focus on these two areas, it is imperative that I acknowledge we not only survived COVID-19 – we thrived!
Lucy Rosen, Exec. Director, Bergen CASA
Since the onset of the pandemic, we have:

  • appointed an Advocate to every child referred to us, serving all the foster children in this county eligible for an Advocate;
  • acquired sophisticated technology, including moving all our data to a cloud, setting up a system
    of constant security surveillance, and providing dedicated high-tech laptops for all our staff; and
  • launched an intuitive new web site and the ability for users to translate the site into Spanish at
    the push of a button!

Bergen CASA’s advocacy is stronger than ever due to the nature of the cases we now receive. While the number of children in foster care has dropped, the complexity of the cases that now trigger the removal of children from their families has increased significantly. To that end, we are now a trauma-informed organization. Our staff are trained to provide trauma training and all Advocates truly understand the impact and implications of trauma upon our families and children. Our training continues to evolve and improve under the auspices of Jeanne McVerry, (MA, Reading Specialist and Instructional Literacy Design; Educational Technology and Instructional Coach; Title 1 Program Leadership) who brings her brilliance, passion for Advocacy, and invaluable teaching skills.


What are the challenges facing Bergen CASA in this our 20 th year? We must shift our sources of funding from our historical reliance on a federal program – the VOCA grant – to the private, corporate and commercial sectors. In anticipation of the VOCA grant being reduced or eliminated, we have been proactively applying for more grants, soliciting collaborative sponsorships (see article on Kundert Volvo) and conducting more fundraisers. Speaking of fund raisers…. we are bringing back our biggest and donor favorite Casino Night at Seasons on March 22nd and  need your support!

Looking forward

We currently are developing a new mentor program for our Advocates–Fostering Futures. The program will train Advocates to mentor their foster teens, working on transitional skills such as driving license, bank accounts, jobs etc. We are securing driving coverage so our Advocates can take teens to college visits, to a job center or just out for coffee.

Thanks to you, our invaluable supporters, I believe we are not only ready to tackle any current and new challenges but also poised to advance and improve on our services to “change a foster child’s story.”

I look forward to seeing you March 22nd at Casino Night!

With gratitude,