Court Appointed Friend and Advocate - Santa Clara Superior Court

Juvenile Delinquency icon Project Name: Court Appointed Friend & Advocate (CAFA)
Court: Santa Clara Superior Court
   Links: Court Juvenile Division

Overview/Program Description:

The court has implemented a Court Appointed Friend and Advocate (CAFA) pilot program for 15 minors between the ages of 15 and 17 who were accepted on the Deferred Entry of Judgment (DEJ) program, but showing signs of failing to comply with the program. The purpose of the CAFA is to provide a minor with an advocate who is consistently in the minor's life and to support the minor in moving out of the juvenile justice system. The CAFA also serves to assist in getting the minor into activities such as sports or tutoring. To facilitate the advocacy and mentoring, the court appoints the CAFA as an officer of the court who also has a right to access the juvenile's court file. The court's goal is to offer the same resources to juveniles in delinquency court as they receive in dependency court, so this pilot is modeled after the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program.

Program Benefits/Savings:

Because this pilot is fairly new, and due to the low number (15) of minors in the pilot program, it is too early to tell what benefits will be achieved. Anecdotally, the court did see clear cases where CAFA helped in minors' successful completion of the DEJ program.