Have you ever wanted to help children, but didn't know how? Become a Volunteer!
VOLUNTEERS ARE CRITICAL IN OUR EFFORT TO MAKE GOOD THINGS HAPPEN FOR OUR CHILDREN. YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
Providing love, support, and assistance to children in transition can be a rewarding experience. Volunteers in the programs listed below contribute their talent and energy toward creating comfort, joy, and a sense of stability to children in need as they face transition and temporary placement.
Volunteer Orientation Meetings
To learn more about becoming a volunteer in one of the Social Services Agency programs, you are invited to attend an orientation meeting where the specific requirements and details of volunteer opportunities with the Social Services Agency will be explained. After meeting the volunteer representatives from each of the Social Services Agency programs, choosing the best-suited volunteer program will be easier. Applications will be provided by presenters at the orientation meeting.
Volunteer Orientation meetings are held on the last Tuesday of the month (excluding December). Join us from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at:
County of Orange Social Services Agency
888 North Main Street
Santa Ana, CA
Parking is available on Sycamore Street at the rear of the building. Refreshments will be served. For more information on orientation meetings, contact the Volunteer Coordinator. You may also complete the Social Services Agency Volunteer Application.
Orangewood Children and Family Center
Orangewood Children and Family Center is a temporary home to children between the ages of 2 days to 18 years. Volunteers may decide which age group best complements their interest and talents. As an OCH volunteer you will be helping to individualize the services provided by our professional staff and enrich our programs with your specific interest and skills.
Volunteers have the opportunity to:
- Assist with individual and group activities
- Assist in on-site school classrooms or field trips
- Interact with children in the cottages where they reside
- Assist in recreation and craft activity
- Assist with Living Programs which teach children life skills. Children’s ages range from 11 to 18 year old boys and girls.
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)
Become a child's voice in court
- CASA is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the rights of children who have been removed from their homes because of severe or chronic child abuse.
- CASA needs mature, responsible adult volunteers. The ability to relate to children in stressful situations and willingness to commit their time is a must. Speaking up for the child in court will help ensure that an abused or neglected child is placed in a safe, permanent, nurturing home.
- CASA volunteers maintain a weekly one-to-one relationship with a child throughout the time that this child is a dependent of the court.
- CASA volunteers provide information and objective recommendations to the court to facilitate placement or family reunification.
Please note: More than 50% of CASA children are boys. These volunteer programs encourage participation by men, all ethnicities, and seniors who can share their grandparenting skills.
Child Abuse Services Team (CAST)
The purpose of CAST is to reduce the trauma of child abuse. This goal is accomplished by reducing the number of clinical and forensic interviews with the child and limiting the number of investigations. Volunteers provide comfort and support for sexually abused children entering Orangewood or other facilities.
Foster And Adoptive Parenting
Foster parents provide a caring temporary home environment for children who are unable to live with their birth families. In most cases foster parents work with Social Services Agency staff to reunite the child with their birth parents. Families may choose from a variety of specialized programs that care for:
- Drug-exposed infants and toddlers
- Brothers and sisters who need to stay together
- Children with special medical needs
- Children with special developmental, emotional and educational needs
- Teen mothers with babies
- Children of all ethnic and racial backgrounds
Adoptive parents take a child who is no longer able to live with his/her birth family into their home as a permanent family member. Families may choose from two adoptive programs:
- Concurrent Planning Families have the goal of adoption but are also licensed to provide foster care. These families have the opportunity to be the only foster placement for a child whom they may eventually be able to adopt.
- Traditional Adoption families are approved to adopt those children who are legally freed and waiting for an adoptive family.
Who can become a foster or adoptive parent? Foster parents are adults from all segments of society and a variety of ethnic backgrounds. You can be married or single, work in or out of the home, and rent or own your own home or apartment in the County of Orange that has adequate space, privacy and safety for all family members.
The Foster and Adoptive Family Development Team is responsible for developing and sustaining perse placement options for the dependent children of Orange County. Orientation sessions are provided monthly. For information on becoming a foster or adoptive parent or to register for an orientation, call 714-704-8704.
Operation Santa Claus / Senior Santas And Friends
Volunteers can be of assistance from July through December. OPERATION SANTA CLAUS volunteers become helping hands and join in on projects listed below:
- Create, distribute and mail promotional materials
- Assist in fund-raising activities which help pay for gas, storage, technical support, and printed materials
- Assist with inventory control, shelving and gift sorting during distribution center operations (December)
- Assist gift store shoppers with gift selections
- Assist with distribution center cleanup and storage
- Set up a Holiday tree at your place of business and encourage coworkers to take "Angel Tags" (gift suggestions) to help a needy child or senior by purchasing a special gift for them
LA CASA-OCH (Orangewood Children and Family Center) Auxiliary
Volunteers participate in fundraising for Orangewood Children and Family Center and other special events.
The OCH/CAST/CASA volunteer process requires special effort, but offers a unique opportunity for those who want to contribute their time and talents.
For those wishing to volunteer at OCH, adults 18 years of age or older are preferred. Those wishing to volunteer at OCH between the ages of 16 and 18 must be affiliated with a high school program. You must be 21 years of age to apply to volunteer at
CAST and CASA - Background clearances are required. Potential volunteers will be asked to submit the following:
- Fingerprint Card/Live Scan (ask for details before proceeding)
- TB test results (after completion of training)
- Confidentiality Form
- Three references
- Completion of Agency Application
Depending on the volunteer program, volunteer data may be submitted for clearance and a background check with:
- The Child Abuse Registry
- The DMV
- Department of Justice
Requirements for some programs include:
- Must pass a background investigation and psychological evaluation
- Must have no felony convictions within the past 10 years
- Department of Justice
- Must not be on formal or informal probation
- OCH volunteers make a monthly commitment of volunteer hours.
- CASA volunteers commit to donating at least three hours each week for a minimum of two years.
- CASA volunteers are required to attend 30 hours of state-mandated training and must pass the background check referred to above.
Once clearances have been approved, volunteers will be contacted and invited to attend the required training classes. Background clearances may take up to eight weeks to process.
For more information on Volunteer Opportunities in other county agencies and departments, contact county volunteer coordinator Jane Dawson @ 714-834-7440 or Jane.Dawson@ocgov.com