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July 2017

In this issue of CASA/GAL News:

Pre-Service Volunteer Curriculum Revision

National CASA Association is proud to announce the release of the 2017 Pre-Service Curriculum Revision. In order to increase the experiential opportunity of participants, new case studies—based on real-world scenarios that were created to stretch volunteers’ problem-solving skills—have been added. In addition, the revision incorporates updated research and information in areas such as adverse childhood experiences, educational advocacy, LGBTQ identity issues, disproportionality, and trauma-informed care. This revision is designed to increase advocates’ ability to make informed decisions and facilitate knowledge transfer of best-interest advocacy from training to the appointment of their cases.

As all learning professionals know, a curriculum is merely one element in the training rollout process; it takes great facilitator skills to bring a curriculum to life and to make it impactful for volunteers. The next major milestone in implementing this revision across the country is the execution of a series of support trainings for the network’s master facilitator community. Over the next six weeks, a representative from every state will attend a three-day master facilitator training. Each master facilitator will then coordinate facilitator training in his or her respective state.

National CASA has recently completed the first of four master facilitator trainings, during which the initial cohort shared their wisdom and training expertise with one another, learned the structure of the revised curriculum and honed their skills in order to present this curriculum to program facilitators. Generously hosted by CASA of Philadelphia, supported by Pennsylvania CASA and led by Richard Heyl de Ortiz and Kimberly Deer from the National CASA Curriculum Development Committee, conversations focused on:

  • Tips and techniques for organizing materials
  • Recommendations to gain practice by teaching staff or experienced volunteers first
  • Facilitator competencies, including how to identify delivery strengths and weaknesses
  • The value of enlisting a volunteer or staff to help manage the case study activity procedures (particularly valuable with a large audience)
  • How to localize elements of the materials to make them most relevant to local procedures and conditions
  • The need to prepare, because facilitators are the first and possibly most important contact that a volunteer will have with their program
National CASA will work with state organizations in order to execute the remaining three master facilitator trainings throughout the summer, after which states will create plans to prepare volunteer-training professionals within their respective networks. State-based updates will come later in the year.

Anyone with questions, comments or feedback is encouraged to contact National CASA at

Mentoring Renewal Grants

We are pleased to announce the list of state and local programs that were selected to receive renewal grants from OJJDP’s Mentoring Opportunities for Youth Initiative. The renewal opportunity was open to all current local and state grantees with either a state awareness and recruitment grant or a youth advocacy grant. In all, 52 current grantees were awarded renewal grants for a total of $1,944,000. Read more.

Six-Month OJJDP Reporting Due July 25

The National CASA Association’s six-month report for January 1 to June 30, 2017, is due July 25. This report is required by the National CASA Association's largest funder, the US Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). This office provides the primary source of funding for pass-through grants to CASA/GAL programs, our national training curriculum, marketing and awareness resources, quality assurance, and technical assistance to the network. Read more.

2017 Kids Count Data Book

The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2017 Kids Count Data Book: State Trends in Child Well-Being is now available online. The report covers detailed national and state-level data related to child well-being, including poverty measures, health insurance coverage, and child welfare placements and outcomes.

While employment, family wages, and the numbers of insured children are trending up and delinquency and school dropout rates among teenagers are trending down, child poverty remains prevalent. Overall, the trends in the report are shaped by many variables, and public policy has a direct effect on child well-being, especially in terms of investments that could improve chances for children to thrive. We invite you to review the Data Book and the indicators used to gauge milestones and conditions conducive for young people to succeed.

If you have a question, want clarification on anything written in the CASA/GAL News, have story ideas, or need additional information, please contact .

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