OCTLA charity to support CASA volunteers working with foster care kids

Goal is to raise over $300,000 at Top Gun Gala

Lindsey Aitken
2023 March

The Orange County Trial Lawyers Association started 60 years ago with the mission of lawyers helping lawyers in providing top-notch legal representation to the most vulnerable clients. Over the years, OCTLA expanded its reach and began helping a vulnerable group in our community: families who could not afford car seats for their newborns. And so began the idea of raising money at our annual Top Gun awards dinner.

When I first joined the board back in 2005, OCTLA raised over $22,000 for Small Angels. Over the years, OCTLA has steadily increased the amount raised for Orange County charities, culminating in last year’s record-breaking $304,000 for Operation Helping Hands. Over the last 17 years, OCTLA has raised over $1.6 million dollars for Orange County charities.

Today, I am proud to announce that OCTLA will be supporting CASA OC as this year’s charity recipient at our annual Top Gun Gala on November 11. CASA OC is a non-profit charity with a mission of supporting abused and neglected children who move through the Orange County child-welfare system. CASA volunteers commit to a minimum of two years with a youth in the child-welfare system. Each volunteer undergoes extensive training to learn how to best connect with their youth. CASAs will often assist their youth in navigating the complex child-welfare system while balancing school and home life.

CASA OC was founded in 1985, with major support from the Junior League of Orange County. CASA OC serves over 1,000 children each year. Sadly, youth in the child-welfare system have only a 58% high-school graduation rate. They have a 50% chance of being unemployed by the age of 24. Foster youth have a 20% chance of becoming homeless within a year of emancipating. By supporting CASA OC, OCTLA hopes to provide funding that will enable CASA OC to train more CASAs and provide more Orange County foster-care youth with a CASA. Tragically, there is a long waiting list to obtain a court-appointed CASA in Orange County.

Why is it important for a child in the foster system to have a CASA? Children with CASA volunteers experience a high-school graduation rate of 92%, and they have significantly fewer placements than children without a CASA volunteer. Youths with a CASA tend to perform better academically and behaviorally in school as measured by whether or not they passed all of their courses, whether or not they were expelled, and their conduct performance. Children with CASAs report significantly higher levels of hope, which is linked to academic success, overall well-being, increased self-control, positive social relationships and optimism.

I hope to see many of you on November 11, 2023 at the Grove of Anaheim to help OCTLA beat the record of over $300,000 raised last year. With your generosity, we can continue to make a positive impact in our community.

Lindsey Aitken Lindsey Aitken

Lindsey Aitken is the Managing Partner at the law firm Aitken Campbell Heikaus Weaver, specializing in employment law.  ACHW represents employees in all aspects of employment law, including wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and unfair competition, including claims under both federal and California laws, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act, the California Family Rights Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, the Equal Pay Act, California’s Trade Secret Act, and other labor and employment laws.

Lindsey is currently serving as President of the Orange County Trial Lawyers Association and served as President of the Celtic Bar Association from 2015-2017. She is a member of American Association for Justice, Consumer Attorneys of California, and the Orange County Bar Association.

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