Los Angeles, CA, May 4th, 2011 — Monique Stevens has been named as the new Assistant Program Director of CASA of Los Angeles-Antelope Valley.  As the new head of the office, located in Lancaster, Ms. Stevens will oversee the daily operations of CASA/LA’s Antelope Valley location, working with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) and spearheading the organizations efforts & outreach to the Antelope Valley community.

Monique Stevens was most recently Director of Family Advocacy Programs at the Children’s Center of the Antelope Valley, a non-profit agency whose mission is to treat and prevent child abuse, where she oversaw two programs in collaboration with the Department of Children and Family Services.  She is an experienced family law attorney whose earlier work includes the Family Law Facilitator’s Office in the San Diego Superior Court, where she assisted families with child custody and visitation issues, paternity and divorce cases, and domestic violence restraining orders.

Ms. Stevens has a BA in Psychology from UCSD and a JD from USD School of Law. She is also and is a member of Toastmasters.

“Throughout my career, my passion has been working with children in need to provide them with safe passage to adulthood,” said Monique Stevens. “CASA/LA has given me the opportunity to make an even bigger impact in the lives of Los Angeles’ endangered children and I am excited to be joining the CASA team.”

The mission of CASA of Los Angeles is to improve the lives of the children in the dependency court system through trained, dedicated, and effective volunteer advocates who are professionally supported by an experienced staff.
A CASA, or Court Appointed Special Advocate, is a trained and supervised volunteer, appointed by a judge to advocate for the best interests of a child in foster care, both in the court and in the community.  Children in foster care have been removed from their homes by the Department of Children and Family Services because of abuse, neglect or abandonment and are under the jurisdiction of the Juvenile Court system.

The need for CASA volunteers in Los Angeles County and particularly the Antelope Valley is unparalleled.  On average, between 600 – 700 children per month from the Antelope Valley report allegations of abuse and are reported to the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services.  Each year about 1,000 Antelope Valley Children are referred to the Sheriff’s Department for abuse investigations, constituting nearly a third of the child abuse referrals in the entire Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

The CASA volunteer is often the only person in the system who is not paid.  With the high volume of children in foster care, CASA/LA’s mission is to not only help them successfully navigate the court system but to help them achieve permanence.

ABOUT CASA/LA – Founded in 1978, CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Los Angeles (CASA/LA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of children in the dependency court system. CASA/LA volunteers are judge-appointed to speak up for children caught in the overburdened dependency court system and to ensure they are not overlooked.  Throughout this process, CASA/LA volunteers are often the only unpaid voices speaking up for the best interests of these vulnerable at-risk children.

For more information about CASA/LA, please visit http://www.casala.org.

CASA of Los Angeles-Antelope Valley’s phone number is 661/723-2272

Media Contact: Dan Spelling/Brian Mcwilliams at Spelling Communications

310/838-4010   dspelling@spellcom.com / bmcwilliams@spellcom.com