Congressional Briefing on the Work of the CASA Network

Jim Gallisdorfer, National Court Appointed Special Advocates Association

National CASA teamed up with DC metro area programs and state organizations – CASA of DC, CASA of Prince George’s County, Maryland CASA, and Virginia CASA – to educate Congressional staff about the CASA/GAL program. The Hill briefing was hosted by the Senate Caucus on Foster Youth and the House of Representatives’ Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth. Both provide national leadership and garner attention in Congress to issues impacting abused and neglected children.

The standing room only event, held October 2015, was attended by congressional staffers, child welfare and judicial partners. Compelling CASA stories were delivered by a panel which included:

  • Prince George’s County, MD program director, Ann Marie Foley Binsner, and lead volunteer supervisor, Sarah Bosken, who shared information about volunteer recruitment and pre-service training as well as examples of challenging cases and the impact of CASA volunteers on children and the court.
  • Two former foster youth who told their stories, and how their lives were changed because of CASA volunteers from Virginia and Maryland.
  • DC CASA volunteer Lindsay Stearns, a Georgetown Law student, who talked about building trust with her child, as a new CASA volunteer.
  • DC CASA Senior Manager, Allison Kahn, who talked about that program’s work with older youth.
  • National CASA Association Chief Program Officer Sally Erny, who gave the national overview.

Representative Karen Bass (D-CA), Representative Diane Black (R-TN-6), Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) added their support to the event. The Congressional briefing was a great demonstration of the ways National CASA is engaging Congress, our network, and our communities in the effort to ensure that every abused or neglected child in need has a caring, consistent adult to advocate for his or her well-being.

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