maikrzekCASA of Santa Barbara County is pleased to announce a new team member who has joined to help the many children in our community facing abuse and/or neglect. With nearly 300 children being served and a waiting list of more than 60, Brittany Maikrzek is ready to help our volunteers.

As Advocate Supervisor for CASA of Santa Barbara County, Brittany will work alongside Associate Director Aaron Pankratz, where she will support and supervise CASA volunteers in their role as child advocates. Originally from Michigan, Brittany moved to California at the age of six and grew up on Vandenberg AFB where her father was stationed in the military.

Over the past nine years, Brittany has worked with people of all ages, actively helping others in her community. Her love of people has led her to help military members, their families and retirees by advocating for better access to, and understanding of how to utilize, their health insurance benefits.  She has also helped senior citizens obtain Medicare benefits. In addition to assisting adults, Brittany enjoys working with children. This past year she had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to teach English as a Second Language (ESL) to kindergarten students in China. She is currently an advocate for sexual assault survivors at the North County Rape Crisis and Child Protection Center. “Brittany brings a great mix of experience as a volunteer advocate and volunteer manager. We are excited to welcome her to our team,” said Aaron.

Brittany currently attends Allan Hancock College and plans to complete her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology online through Brandman University. In her free time, she loves to travel, read, hike, and spend time with her family.

“CASA gives children a voice, and every child deserves to have their voice heard,” Maikrzek explained. “When there is so much going on and so many people involved, oftentimes the smallest voice is the one left unheard. CASA makes sure every voice, particularly the child’s voice, is heard. This is why I believe in CASA.”

About CASA of Santa Barbara County

CASA, which stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates, trains volunteers who are sworn in by a juvenile court judge to help ensure abused or neglected children find a safe, permanent home as quickly as possible. The role of a CASA volunteer is to act as an extra pair of eyes and ears for the court, collecting information through observation and interviews with key people in the child’s life before reporting back to the judge.

A CASA volunteer advocate speaks on behalf of the child in court. The volunteer meets with the child, family members, teachers, foster parents, and others involved in a foster child’s life. The volunteer gathers facts for the court and presents information before a judge in the best interest of the child.

Volunteers complete an application process which includes a screening interview, background and reference checks, and 30 hours of pre-service training. After completion of the pre-service training, volunteers are sworn in as officers of the court. This gives them the legal authority to conduct research on the child’s situation and submit reports to the court.

For more information, contact Brittany Maikrzek at (805) 357-2591 or email brittany@sbcasa.org.