Congressman DeSaulnier Presents $600,000 to A Home Within & CASA for Mental Health Services for Current & Former Foster Youth

By Giving List Staff   |   April 24, 2023
Candice Simonds (sixth from left), AHW Chief Program Officer, and Reed Connell (second from right), AHW Executive Director

We’re excited to announce that on April 12th, 2023 Congressman Mark DeSaulnier visited the CASA office in Concord, CA to present our organizations with a generous $600,000 check. This incredible donation will contribute to increasing access to vital mental health services for current and former youth in foster care.

AHW and CASA of Contra Costa County partnered in late 2019 to launch the CASA Therapy Project (CTP) in order to provide youth with free, online, open-ended psychotherapy.  The AHW-CASA Therapy Project (ACTP) builds on this initial collaboration.  The project is funded by the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) and the California Community Reinvestment Grants Program (CalCRG).  The A Home Within–CASA Therapy Project provides current and former foster youth the type of highly personalized, stable, and committed relationship that, according to the Harvard University Center on the Developing Child, is the “single most common factor for children who develop resilience.” Volunteer psychotherapists provide free, weekly, one-on-one therapy sessions while Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) provide one-to-one mentorship and engage with the courts, social workers, and other service providers. 

Building on A Home Within’s 30-year history of providing free therapy to youth “for as long as it takes,” the ACTP aims to address the mental health needs of current foster youth by facilitating stable, long-term relationships with experienced therapists. The ACTP endeavors to address the trauma and disruption experienced by young people in foster care, helping them develop tools to manage stress and anxiety while building the inner resilience they need to become healthy, thriving adults. CASA’s continuous volunteer recruitment and relationships with local child welfare agencies ensure a pipeline of both volunteers and youth. 

With the support of generous donors like Congressman Mark DeSaulnier, we are making strides in improving the lives of youth in foster care through enhanced access to critical mental health services.  Interested in learning more about A Home Within? Visit our website at 


A Home Within

Donate now!
(510) 387-7518
Executive Director: Reed Connell


With a mission to create and support lasting, caring relationships for children and youth in foster care, A Home Within identifies, recruits, trains, and supports a network of licensed therapists who each provide free, weekly, one-to-one therapy to a single foster youth “for as long as it takes.” For foster youth who often watch people move in and out of their lives, our model creates an anchor of support.

Begin to Build a Relationship

We know you care about where your money goes and how it is used. Connect with this organization’s leadership in order to begin to build this important relationship. Your email will be sent directly to this organization’s Director of Development and/or Executive Director.

For foster youth, whose access to mental health services is often short-term, episodic, or compulsory, the voluntary long-term one-on-one therapy provided by A Home Within’s therapists can be transformative. The May and Stanley Smith Charitable Trust has long supported A Home Within because it is one of the few organizations that matches foster youth with volunteer therapists who build long-term relationships with youth and commit to working with them for as long as they need. A Home Within is meeting a critical need that has only grown during the COVID pandemic and as mental health challenges continue to be among the top pandemic-related issues cited by youth and youth-serving organizations, A Home Within’s work is more important now than ever.
Elisabeth Cutler
Senior Program Officer, the May and Stanley Smith Charitable Trust

A Lifelong Ripple Effect

A Home Within seeks $500,000 to grow its staff and quadruple the number of current and former foster youth it serves in California to 260 over the next year.

Their individual, relationship-based therapy not only helps their clients “heal and learn to thrive,” but also has a ripple effect that radiates throughout the community, says Connell.
“Our young people talk about having healthier relationships with family, friends, and partners,” Connell says.

Donations to A Home Within help the organization recruit and support more therapists around the country, and provide them with clinical supervision, training and continuing education, recognition, and celebration – all of which combine to sustain and honor the commitment each volunteer makes.

Key Supporters

May and Stanley Smith Charitable Trust
Walter S. Johnson Foundation
Sarnat-Hoffman Family Foundation
Sisters of St. Joseph Healthcare Foundation
In-N-Out Burger Foundation
Kaiser Permanente
The Green Foundation
Silicon Valley Community Foundation
MYDAR Foundation
The Louis and Harold Price Foundation
Renaissance Charitable Foundation
The Battery Foundation
Bella Vista Foundation
CASA organizations throughout California
Foster Care Research Group
at the University of San Francisco
11 California Family Foundations
Over 350 Individual Donors