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March 2016

In this issue of CASA/GAL News:

CASA Program and CAC Congressional Briefing Today

National CASA Association and the National Children's Alliance are partnering for a Congressional Briefing on the important work of CASA/GAL programs and Children's Advocacy Centers (CAC) in helping child victims receive the services, care, and support they need to thrive. The briefing begins today at 10 a.m. (ET). Coordinated with the Congressional Victims' Rights Caucus, the briefing's featured speakers are Tara Perry, Chief Executive Officer, National CASA Association and Teresa Huizar, Executive Director, National Children's Alliance. Through the briefing, National CASA Association and CAC hope to raise the awareness of Congressional staffers on child maltreatment and the steps CACs and CASA programs take to help abused and neglected children become whole again.

Watch and share updates from the event by monitoring @NationalCASA on Twitter and our Facebook page at

Early Bird Conference Registration Through March 22


Please join us June 4-7 at the 2016 National CASA/GAL Annual Conference. More than 1,200 people from the CASA/GAL network across the country are expected to converge on the National Capital Area for this year's conference. Our theme, One Network - Many Voices for Children, underscores the success of our advocacy efforts, as well as the importance of the time we will spend together, increasing our ability to collaborate more effectively for abused and neglected children.

Register by March 22, 2016, and save more than $100 off the regular registration price. Learn more about this year's conference by visiting the registration website.

Complete Annual Local Program Survey by March 15

Local programs have until March 15, 2016, to complete the National CASA Association 2015 annual survey. A number of resources have been created to assist programs in completing the survey. In addition to the survey and instructions, a cross-walk document outlines changes between last year's survey and this year's survey, as well as a list of definitions of key terms.

National CASA Association recognizes the important role state organizations play supporting and providing technical assistance to local programs. On Wednesday, February 24, 2016, National CASA Association conducted a webinar for State Directors. The webinar reviewed the survey, including changes this year, as well as answered questions. View the webinar.

Primary contacts for each program were emailed an invitation link to complete their survey. If a local program primary contact has not received the invitation, or you have questions about this year's survey, please email

Annual State Survey Coming Soon

It is almost time to complete the National CASA Association annual state survey. The survey is expected to go live on March 22, 2016, and the deadline for completion is April 29, 2016. This year's survey questions are the largely the same as last year's. We will be using Key Survey as the platform for the state organization survey. The survey will be launched via e-mail to your state organization. The link you will receive is uniquely tied to this survey and your state organization. Please watch your inbox for more information or contact us at if you have questions.

Remember CASA/GAL Friends and Family

As a time honored tradition of the annual national conference, we take a moment to recognize members of the network that have passed since our last meeting. If you know someone that should be recognized, please visit and complete the online submission form.

Please submit any information you have by Friday, April 29, 2016. If you have any questions, please email

Advocacy and Legislative Webinars

Over the past several weeks, webinars were offered to update and discuss CASA program advocacy and legislative activities. Each of the webinars and the accompanying PowerPoint presentations are available.

  • Webinar 1 - Federal Advocacy: Opportunities, Issues, and Impacts for CASA/GAL Organizations | Overview and discussion around the federal process and the role of the federal government in child welfare policymaking and funding, and on CASA/GAL advocacy in particular. Includes a review of key decision makers, timelines, and processes and the specific actions that CASA/GAL program staff, advocates, board members, and other supporters, can take to advance our mission at the national level. The webinar also reviewed the President's Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Request. View resources.
  • Webinar 2 - Legislative Action Webinar: FY 2017 CASA Funding | Overview and discussion around network efforts to secure $12 million for the CASA Program through the Department of Justice in FY 2017 for training, technical assistance, quality assurance, sub-grants, and resources to CASA/GAL programs. The webinar includes a review of our overall strategy, messaging, Congressional materials, and specific actions that CASA/GAL state organizations, local programs, advocates, board members, and other supporters can take in support of this effort. Key decision makers and committees were reviewed in tandem with concrete recommendations for attendees. View resources.
  • Webinar 3 - Legislative Action Webinar: FY 2017 CASA Funding | Webinar topic two repeated with different attendees. View resources.

If you have any questions on the webinars, please send an email to

Announcing the Akerman Academic Excellence Scholarship


As part of the Akerman, LLP $1 million pledge to the National CASA Association, an endowment fund has been created to support the Akerman Academic Excellence Scholarship. This scholarship is designed to help young adults who have spent time in foster care pursue a post-secondary education through an accredited institute of higher learning, such as a university, career college, or technical school.

The scholarship is available to any former foster youth who has graduated, or is scheduled to graduate, from an accredited school system or has received, or is scheduled to receive, his/her GED. The recipient may be a current full-time student or applying to be a full-time student at an accredited institute of higher learning. Read more.

Network Encouraged to Complete National Survey on Nonprofits, Leadership and Race

Frank Prado, Director of Operations with the Florida GAL Program, was accepted into the Annie E. Casey Foundation Children and Families Leadership Fellowship Program. It is a prestigious leadership program for outstanding executives from sectors working to improve outcomes for children, families and communities.

All fellows with the program have been invited to support a research effort on nonprofits, leadership and race being funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation through The Building Movement Project. Nonprofit CASA/GAL staff and board members are being encouraged to take this confidential survey. The survey focuses on respondent's training/development, views of leadership, experiences at work, perspectives on nonprofits, and race. It will be the first widely distributed survey asking nonprofit leaders and staff members about issues of diversity. The survey will take about 20 minutes to complete and can be found at It will be available through April. Please support this important effort by participating in the survey.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month – Resources Available

Many CASA and GAL programs take advantage of the national publicity surrounding Child Abuse Prevention Month to heighten public awareness of our mission and the need for volunteer child advocates. If you're looking for a bite-sized project or just want to add a little something extra to what your program already has planned, check out the resources on our website.

Resources for CASA/GAL Members

7 Things You Need to Know About Volunteer Background Checks in 2016 – Verified Volunteers
View on-demand webinar | Volunteer Screening Trends & Best Practices Report: 2016. This webinar will provide a deeper understanding of:

  • What the biggest screening misperceptions are – and the sad truth about "super" searches
  • Who and when you should be screening
  • How to get the highest quality screens without spending a fortune
  • How leveraging your screening tools can make recruiting volunteers easier and less expensive

5 Tips to Better Volunteer Screening – Verified Volunteers
Get more from your volunteer screening program with five tips based on the practices of more than 350 U.S. nonprofit organizations. Visit blog.

7 More Ways for You to Show Volunteer Appreciation – Verified Volunteers
It's become clear since Verified Volunteers started blogging that volunteer appreciation is a hot topic. Indeed, it was one of their most popular blog topics of 2015! That shows that organizations and volunteer programs highly value the work volunteers are doing and want to make sure they are conveying to those volunteers how special they truly are. Visit blog.

In case you missed it in our newsletter for donors, partners, and supporters…

In case you missed it in our newsletter for donors, partners, and supporters…

National CASA Board Member Pens Letter Printed in The New Yorker

Jill Lepore, in her article about child-welfare services, describes many of the social, financial, political, legal, and bureaucratic problems that make child abuse and neglect apparently intractable ("Baby Doe," February 1st). But there are interventions that have proved effective, such as the nine hundred and forty-nine Court Appointed Special Advocates agencies throughout the country, which train lay volunteers and pair each one with a child or a sibling group in the child-welfare system. (I head one such agency, in Kansas City.) CASA volunteers advocate for the children, assuring that the judges who make decisions about medical, therapeutic, and educational services, as well as home placements, are presented with firsthand information about each child. Last year, more than seventy-six thousand CASA volunteers worked on behalf of some two hundred and fifty thousand abused and neglected children. CASA programs, by training and supporting citizens to help at-risk children, bring significant assistance to a terribly overburdened system.

Martha Gershun
Kansas City, Mo.

View letter on The New Yorker website.

The National CASA Association is here to support you. If you have a question, want clarification on anything written in the CASA/GAL News, or need additional information, please contact


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