State & Local Programs

CASA/GAL - State News New State Development Officer | Upcoming Grants Deadlines | New Flex Learning Invoice Process
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Continuing to Build a Strong Training Program for Our Advocates

Training is a foundational element in achieving our mission. Thanks to everyone who helped shape the rollout of the updated curriculum in 2017
and is focused on ensuring advocates are adequately prepared for their roles.

What should you expect in 2018? Here are critical items to know about:

• Inventory Management: We’re releasing Version 2 November 2017 of the CASA/GAL Pre-Service Volunteer Training Curriculum with corrections.
When you deplete your current inventory, pull the latest version to ensure you have the updates. You can access Version 2 by downloading the new Pre-Service
Facilitator Quicklinks Guide at

In addition to corrections to the curriculum, new links have been added to the Getting Started page that will allow you to download all eight chapters of the
PowerPoint presentations, handouts, pre-work, etc. 

• Flex Learning Training of Facilitators: The Flex Learning program consists of 30 hours of pre-service curriculum that is delivered partially online and partially in-person.

“North Carolina was an early adopter of the FLEX training model – and we have expanded use of it every year since its inception in 2012,” said Liz Kachris-Jones, Training Administrator for the Guardian ad Litem Division of the North Carolina Judicial Branch.


According to Kachris-Jones, every one of their 30 local districts - from the mountains to the coast - have used FLEX at least once. In 2017 North Carolina used 93 FLEX Moodle Rooms, swearing-in more than 900 volunteers with this curriculum.

“(Flex Learning) reaches potential volunteers who value and expect that technology can deliver needed information, builds in report-writing practice from the onset and, most importantly, uses case studies as learning tools to provide concrete exposure to the work a volunteer will execute. Volunteers and staff love the practicality of FLEX.”

We are preparing to release Flex Learning 2017 at the March national conference. If you want to offer flex learning as part of your volunteer training program, we have upcoming opportunities for you to get up to speed:
o We’ll preview the updates during a Feb. 16 webinar.
o We will hold a two-day Training of Facilitators (ToF) March 9-10 at the Boston conference. This is for people who want to prepare to deliver online instruction. It is a rare opportunity to learn from our most experienced flex instructors! Send a message to if you are interested in attending to receive a registration code.
• In-Person Pre-Service Training: We will deliver a Training of Facilitators (ToF) workshop March 9-10 at the Boston conference. If the 2017 curriculum is new to you and you want to attend, send a message to to receive a registration code.
• Conference Training Track: On Sunday March 11 at the national conference, the training track will include sessions on facilitation preparation skill building, increasing knowledge transfer after the training has ended, measuring successful outcomes, and creating safe space for everyone to speak and learn.
• Trainer tools: We have deployed tools to support facilitators::
o Hosting monthly state master facilitator calls that are recorded and shared
o Launching a pilot of a Facilitator Communication Group through Teams software in order to share knowledge and information
o Updating the Training webpage with facilitator resources
o Providing a chapter-by-chapter audio for facilitators that explains the content in greater depth to help preparation for teaching to volunteers; please pass this information on to your facilitators.
o Adding a master ToF instructional document.


There can be a substantial cost savings in doing bulk production of manuals. We recommend state organizations coordinate with local programs on printing and maintaining no more than six months of inventory to accommodate content updates.


National CASA

National CASA is welcoming new team members, Debbie Staub and Roxanne Mennes, who you are likely to get to know in the coming months.

Debbie Staub, Director of Research & Knowledge Management, joined National CASA on Jan. 8. This position replaces Janet Ward’s role and will work on updating tools and practice guides like Achieving Our Mission and Question of Balance, providing technical assistance to state organizations and conducting state research on the landscape and status of child welfare in each state. She also will assume responsibility for the state of the state reports. Additionally, Debbie will conduct research into issue areas and about concerns of disproportionality in child welfare. From this research, she will write issues area briefs, deliver webinars and facilitate learning and sharing of trends, information, innovative practices, and manage our intellectual assets. Debbie earned her PhD in special education from the University of California at Berkeley. Debbie comes to us from Casey Family Programs where she served for over 15 years.  On a personal note, Debbie has been a CASA volunteer working on several cases and understands the great importance of the organization to children in need.

Roxanne Mennes, Director of Program Development, begins her new role on Jan. 16. Roxanne’s focus will  be on supporting local programs  in states where we don’t currently have state organizations, new program development and; working together with state organizations to develop and build local program capacity to serve more children with quality volunteer advocacy; working closely with the local leadership Councils to design and develop Program Support Initiatives that support rural, urban, suburban, and tribal program directors; and gathering information from the local program network that will inform the ongoing delivery of technical assistance Roxanne comes to National CASA from Family Law CASA of King County in the Seattle area, where she has been executive director since 2013. Just prior to that she was director of continuing legal education at Seattle University School of Law. Roxanne has been deeply involved in child welfare and related issues for the majority of her career, including several years working as a trial attorney in juvenile court. We are honored to have her join National CASA, an organization she has personally supported. She holds a JD from the University of Utah SJ Quinney College of Law, where her emphasis was family law and dependency.

Andy Schneider Munoz and Michelle Olson are transitioning from their full-time staff roles with National CASA to consulting roles. National CASA continues to look for creative ways to engage talent on a project or an as-needed basis. Both Andy and Michelle have their own consulting practices and will continue their work with National CASA on key projects independently. For Michelle, this includes work on the branding and website rebuild initiatives and support of the Marketing and Communications Committee. For Andy, this includes leading the Judges Study and other outcomes research projects and continuing to lead the work of the Performance Measurement Committee. We appreciate their ongoing commitment to National CASA and the network!

New State Director

Sandra Neal, an experienced executive with public and private sector experience, has been hired as the new executive director at Missouri Court Appointed Special Advocates (MOCASA). She replaces Beth Dessem, who served as executive director for 15 years before retiring in December. Previously, Neal served as President of Alliance Water Resources, Inc., a leading provider of professional operations and maintenance services for community water and wastewater systems. In her role, she worked with communities in Missouri and surrounding states to solve a variety of water and wastewater challenges. Neal began her career at the University of Missouri and continued her career in a wide variety of corporate roles, including business development, human resources and corporate compliance. Welcome, Sandra!


Planning Our Time Together at the Conference

We want to ensure you make your travel plans for the March conference and also don’t miss the early bird registration deadline of this Friday, Jan. 12.

Important meetings for you to know about:

Friday, March 9
• New State Director Orientation, 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
• Combined Meeting of New State Directors and Directors of Developing States, 1:30-5 p.m.

Saturday, March 10
• State Director Meeting, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
• Highly Effective Workshop included in this session

Tuesday, March 13
• State Leadership Council, 11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m.

And for state organization board members:

Saturday, March 10
• Board members are welcome to attend the State Director Meeting

Sunday, March 11
• Board Governance Initiative Kickoff with BoardSource, 9:15-10:15 a.m.
• State Leadership/Governance Workshop with BoardSource, 10:35 -11:30 a.m.
• State Leadership/Governance Workshop with BoardSource 2:40-5 p.m.

Tuesday, March 13
• National CASA Board and State Governing Board Chairs, 9:30-11:30 a.m.

WebEx Series for Members to Begin in February

We are organizing a regular series of WebEx sessions in 2018. The intent is to provide more predictable opportunities for dialogue and training around specific topics through community calls and training webinars. These sessions will be from 10-11 a.m. Pacific time every other Friday starting Feb. 2 (with some exceptions due to the March conference or longer months).
Upcoming topics:
• Feb. 2 – Supporting Former Foster Youth Through the Akerman Academic Excellence Scholarship, facilitated by Brad Ray, National Training and Development Officer

• Feb. 16 – Community Call on Flex Learning Updates, facilitated by Brad Ray, National Training and Development Officer, and Marsha Kabakov, Director of Training

A link to the schedule with upcoming topics, log-in instructions and session materials is available on the member portal landing page.

Next State Directors Meeting

The next call is at 11 a.m. Pacific/2 p.m. Eastern time Jan. 17.

Meeting Dial In: 1-877-668-4490
Meeting Number: 265 233 735
Meeting Password: states
Meeting Link:

Be Sure to Read the Upcoming CASA/GAL News, With Articles to Include:
• Judges’ Perspective Study Coming
• Council News
• Program Highlights and Holiday Toy Drives


Questions or Suggestions?

For Story Ideas:

For Other Issues: or (800) 628-3233

National Court Appointed Special Advocates Association
100 W. Harrison St.
North Tower, Suite 500
Seattle, WA 98119

1625 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Suite 520
Washington D.C. 20036


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