Child Colloquium Series

2023 - 2024 Child Colloquium Series

Program Title:Community in Support of Foster Youth — What is a CASA?
Date:Saturday, December 2, 2023
Time:10:00am – 12:00pm
Presenters:Kira Steifman, PsyD and Deborah Weisinger, PsyD
Moderator:Yen Quoc, PsyD

San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis
444 Natoma Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

This is an in-person event only; remote participation is not available.

Program Fee:Free

Community in Support of Foster Youth — What is a CASA?

What is a CASA? And where does this fit within the umbrella of community support so sorely needed for foster youth?

Both CASA and A Home Within are committed to helping foster youth grow and develop primarily through volunteers.

One of the hallmarks of A Home Within is the matching of a foster youth or former foster youth with a pro bono therapist “for as long as it takes.” The goal is to help these youth find a stable, caring relationship with a therapist who is committed to their growth and development in the midst of trauma and multiple losses in foster youths’ lives.

Casa, the Spanish word literally defined as house, is also used informally as home. A CASA is also a volunteer, a Court Appointed Special Advocate, part of a national program for foster youth. Through advocacy and mentorship, the San Francisco Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Program empowers community members to stand up for a foster child and champion their rights in court. In addition, the relationship with a CASA is a community support for the foster youth.

We are members of these organizations: Kira Steifman, PsyD, a therapist and former Board Member with A Home Within, and Deborah Weisinger, PsyD, an analyst and relatively new volunteer with SFCASA. Our presentation will examine how foster youth benefit from broad community support that addresses the many difficult and complex systems that they are thrust into. While the roles of therapist and advocate are different, there are also overlaps. 

We will present a vignette of a foster child in the Foster Care System who is matched with a CASA and, perhaps, a therapist through a Home Within. Based upon the vignette, we will discuss needs and challenges that arise through a psychoanalytic lens, referencing journal articles that will be available to those attending. In our conversation with Colloquium Participants, we will examine the home that can be created in the community and within the youth, specifically within relationships to caring adults. Our goal is to help sustain the foster child through the many ups and downs that the loss of their primary home creates, and to promote their success.

Kira Steifman PsyD provides psychodynamic psychotherapy to adolescents and adults in her private practice in San Francisco. She was the co-chair of SFCP’s Community Outreach and Service Division and part of its Management Team from 2021 until the Division was disbanded in 2023. In addition, she has been an adjunct instructor at CSPP. A former corporate attorney, Dr. Steifman has a doctoral degree in clinical psychology from the Wright Institute. She completed her predoctoral internship at RAMS and her postdoctoral fellowship at Access Institute. Dr. Steifman served on the board of A Home Within for 15 years, two years as President.
Deborah Weisinger, PsyD is a psychoanalyst and psychologist who works with adults in private practice in San Francisco. She has served in a number of roles within SFCP, most recently as co-chair with Dr. Steifman of Community Outreach and Service Division and as a member of the Board of Trustees. She is also a member of the faculty at SFCP and has taught and supervised in a number of local mental health training programs. Dr. Weisinger worked with children and adolescents earlier in her career and was a therapist in A Home Within and conducted Psychological Evaluations for Juvenile Hall in San Francisco and Foster Care Mental Health. She has been a volunteer with SFCASA as a Court Appointed Special Advocate since 2022.

The Child Colloquium Series are offered free of charge through a generous support of the SFCP and the Sophia Mirviss Fund.

Program Co-Chairs:
David Frankel, PhD & Yen Quoc, PsyD

Paul Brinich, PhD
Lilly Hanson, MFT
Courtney Hartman, PsyD
Kylie Svenson, LCSW

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