CASA of Ventura County deals with very sensitive and highly confidential information so they must be both FERPA and HIPAA aware and compliant; keeping all of the data secure is critical.
The hosted phone and electronic Fax solutions from ITS not only reduced costs and increased flexibility but also improved their communication capabilities with all of the features that allow them to be more mobile and provide better access for their staff and volunteers.
To have someone be there for us and to support all of the change has been lifesaving. It has been game changing for this business to know that we are secure, that we are all using the same software, and our data is protected.
About a year and half ago CASA of Ventura County made the decision to expand the organization and position it for growth to serve all foster youth in the system that need an Advocate, approximately 750 children. In order to accomplish this they needed to reengineer the business, hire key personnel and update their internal processes.
To effectively and efficiently streamline the processes, CASA needed to upgrade both their IT and communications systems. When something broke, they called someone to fix it, but that just patched up the problems. Their Executive Director, Teresa Romney, read and saved an article from the Ventura County Star (the local paper) about a company called ITS that has been providing integrated communication solutions locally for 25 years. On their website, ITS offered a Free IT Assessment and VoIP Readiness Assessment, so Teresa called to have the assessments done for CASA. From there, a technician came out and evaluated their out-of-date technologies and then helped CASA determine what solutions they needed. With the help and recommendations from ITS, CASA purchased new equipment, including PCs, networking hardware, phones and had ITS provide all of the services and support to get the solutions set up.
Location: Ventura, CA
Working with a company like ITS where we have a technician assigned to us makes such a difference. We have the confidence that our business is being looked after and we are being advised on the best solutions for our specific business. When we call ITS and they answer the phone right away and transfer us to a technician, it brings such a sense of confidence that we don’t have to worry about our IT, we can put all of our focus on our business.
CASA’s next big project is going paperless for all Advocate and Children’s files. This green initiative will allow CASA to scale by reducing or eliminating office space for filing cabinets, as well as enhancing the mobility of their volunteers and staff. To help facilitate this initiative ITS has helped CASA plan, configure and deploy a SharePoint server integrated with One Drive, allowing access to important information that are now easily managed, accessible and secure based on access permissions. This paperless shift will not only cut costs and time but will also give the CASA staff more flexibility and more time to raise money, train volunteers and focus on their work.
With worry-free secure communications, CASA has confidence that they are in a good position for growth, with the flexibility and scalability that they need in their business solutions. It is hard to be state of the art as a non-profit because it is costly, but ITS caters to small-medium businesses by matching technology solutions to meet any budget. ITS also helps non-profits like CASA make the best use of their money by being an expert in helping non-profits take advantage of the California Teleconnect Fund. Moving forward CASA knows that being secure and able to scale means being able to boost efficiency and expand fundraising. Now when CASA writes about the business for their grant proposals, they are proud to say their non-profit has integrated IT to make working conditions current and efficient for their volunteers and employees.
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Ventura County believes that every court-dependent abused or neglected child should be safe, have permanence and the opportunity to thrive, and have a strong, compassionate volunteer Advocate. CASA has operated in Ventura County since 1985, mostly under the umbrella of other non-profit organizations; they became an independent 501(c)(3) organization in June 2011. The organization recruits, screens, trains, supports and supervises community volunteers who become sworn officers of the Court and advocate for foster children appointed by the Juvenile Dependency Court. They serve foster children/youth ages 0-21 who have been removed from one or both of their parents or guardians. These children benefit from their relationships with their Advocates who are often the only constant, positive presence in their lives until a permanent placement is secured. The sole purpose of the Advocate is to support the child, identify and secure needed services, and represent his/her best interests with the court, agencies and professionals involved in the child’s care and education. With a volunteer Advocate, that child has a better chance of finding a permanent home, receiving the services he/she needs and succeeding in his/her future endeavors.
In the child’s eyes, the volunteer Advocate is the person to be counted on to respond to his or her most basic needs for comfort, guidance, representation and advocacy in times of extreme uncertainty and fear. An Advocate has four basic responsibilities to the child with whom he/she is matched: to be a child’s voice in court, to investigate and report on what is in the child’s best interests, to advocate for the child and to be a stable and consistent adult in the child’s life.
About one year ago, the Dependency Court began assigning all the children in the Ventura County system to CASA; currently, about 750 children out of 1000+- children need an Advocate. In conjunction with the court CASA established a prioritization plan and process to effectively serve the entire population by ensuring that the most at-risk foster youth receive the highest priority in terms of being paired with an Advocate. CASA is currently serving about 46% of the children who need an Advocate.
We couldn’t run as efficiently without all the services we have from ITS.
CASA’s strategic plan over the next three years is one of growth so that they can serve the entire foster care population. This requires a significant increase in their volunteer Advocate base, as well as streamlining and strengthening their organization. They’ve expanded their Information Technology with a disaster recovery solution and have increased security, and are also going paperless to simplify Advocate access to Appointee files. CASA also anticipates broadening the scope of its recruitment activities, as well as holding twelve Information Sessions, six 30-hour Initial Training Sessions and at least 16 In-Service Trainings. Their three-year strategic vision is to train 180 new Advocates to serve 489 children overall. This also requires budget increases of $150,000-$200,000 over the next three years.
CASA currently has 10 staff members, 250 volunteers and serves about 360 children. ITS helps CASA be extremely efficient by allowing them to focus on their business and have the peace of mind that ITS is taking care of their IT and communications solutions.