CASA/GAL - State News
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March 2017

In this issue of CASA/GAL News:

DEADLINE APPROACHING: Annual Surveys due March 31

The National CASA Association annual survey for CASA/GAL state organizations and local programs is due March 31, 2017. Thank you to those member programs who have already submitted their 2016 data! Information from state organizations and local programs is essential to understanding the nationwide impact of state and local CASA/GAL members. The survey findings help us track growth, development and trends among state organizations and local programs, which helps National CASA better serve our members. The results from the annual survey are also critical in making the case to Congress as well as to national foundations and corporations for continued funding. Members may use the final report to assess how your program compares to others across the country.

Read more about this year's annual survey process.

2017 National CASA/GAL Conference Roundup

The 2017 conference is a wrap! Last week, National CASA welcomed more than 1,200 attendees to Seattle, WA, for the 2017 National CASA/GAL Conference, where we came together to explore how to build brighter futures for children who have experienced abuse or neglect. Thank you to those who joined us and made this year's conference our best yet!
  • Connections made, skills developed, and ideas shared at more than 100 workshops and networking circles
  • A moving tribute to the work of CASA/GAL volunteers from HLN's Michaela Pereira
  • An unforgettable theatre performance on real-life stories of trafficking and sexual exploitation by the teenage actresses of The GoodCapp Arts Ensemble
  • An energetic and inspiring Awards of Excellence ceremony
  • A "thank you" from former CASA program intern and bestselling author J.D. Vance
  • A reminder that one person and one interaction can change a life from motivational speaker and former foster youth from Giovan Bazan
  • Inspiring words and a vision for the future from the founder of the CASA movement, Judge David Soukup
  • The introduction of a new set of tools to tell our story, bolstered by a storytelling how-to coaching session with Andy Goodman


National CASA will have videos, photos, and more in the coming month to help us relive the excitement and extend the conference experience to those who could not make it to Seattle! Share photos or videos from the conference on social media using the hashtag #WeAreCASAGAL17.

Access handouts and presentations on the conference website, and be on the lookout for the 2017 conference evaluation so you can tell us more about your conference experience.

Mark your calendar for next year's conference, scheduled March 9-13, 2018, at the Sheraton Boston Hotel.

Introducing the Inaugural National Leadership Council

Reflecting National CASA's commitment to collaboration with our partners at the state organization and local program level, the Association's National Leadership Council (NLC) was launched at the conference in Seattle, WA. The NLC will foster a sense of collaboration and accountability among the network and provide guidance to National CASA around building state organization and local program capacity to increase the number of children served by the CASA/GAL network.

The new NLC is made up of three members from each of the five leadership councils -- state, rural, suburban, tribal and urban -- and will meet four times a year. One member of the NLC will serve as a non-voting member of the National CASA Board of Trustees.

National CASA is pleased to announce the inaugural NLC members representing each council:

Rural Leadership Council

  • CiCi Chalus, LaSalle County CASA, IL
  • Catherine McDowell, Prairie Plains CASA, NE
  • Delyce Palik, CASA of Lonoke, Monroe and Woodruff Counties, AR

State Leadership Council

  • Maggie Blaedow, Alabama CASA Association
  • Lynne Farrar, Tennessee CASA Association
  • Doug Stephens, Ohio CASA Association

Suburban Leadership Council

  • Kim Colby Davis, CASA of Santa Barbara County, CA
  • Deborah Moore, Second Circuit GAL Program, Tallahassee, FL
  • Mandy Welty Zalich, CASA of Westmoreland, PA

Tribal Leadership Council

  • Alex Cardenas, Imperial County and Quechan Tribal CASA Program, CA
  • Kim Deer, Okmulgee Family Resource Center CASA Program (Creek Nation), OK
  • Angela Fasana, Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde CASA Program, OR

Urban Leadership Council

  • Nancy Blackwell, CASA of Baltimore, MD
  • Karen Burns, CASA of Essex County, NJ
  • Laura Wolf, CASA of Travis County, TX

Congratulations to the 2017 Awards of Excellence Winners

National CASA recognized five programs and individuals at the 2017 CASA/GAL conference for their exemplary service to children who have experienced abuse or neglect. We extend our heartfelt thanks and congratulations to the following National CASA Awards of Excellence winners:

Promising Practices Spotlight Award - Richland County CASA
Columbia, South Carolina

Judge of the Year - The Honorable John Worcester
Superior Court Judge, Appalachian Judicial Circuit Jasper, Georgia

Board Member of the Year - Mark Jones
Child Advocates San Antonio San Antonio, Texas

Kappa Alpha Theta CASA/GAL Program Director of the Year - Angie Waters
CASA of Atlantic and Cape May Counties New Jersey

G.F. Bettineski Child Advocate of the Year - Diana Smith
Enotah CASA
Blairsville, Georgia

Telling Our Story: New Tools and Webinar Date Announced

In the closing keynote of the 2017 conference, Andy Goodman, author of the book Storytelling as Best Practice, explained why storytelling is the single most powerful communication tool available to ambassadors of the CASA/GAL mission. To help the members of the CASA/GAL network tell the story of our nationwide movement, National CASA rolled out a new set of tools at the closing session of the conference.

Throughout the past year, members of National CASA's Advancement Team collected words and themes describing our work from the members of National CASA's Leadership Councils and the Marketing and Communications Committee. Through this work, we identified common denominators and incorporated these themes into prototypes of a new National CASA Storyteller's Handbook and a new card-learning game called Storyweaver to equip volunteers, staff members, board members, and other champions to tell a powerful story about the CASA/GAL movement to donors, potential volunteers, judges, policymakers, and others.

These internal tools will help us develop a unified national voice and empower us all to tell impactful stories about our work to serve America's most vulnerable children.

National CASA will host a webinar to introduce these new tools, share our plans to distribute these materials to CASA/GAL member programs, and provide more information about our plans to build on these materials in the coming year. Mark your calendars for Tuesday, April 18 at 3PM ET / 12PM PT and watch for more information.

We want your feedback on these materials and will be conducting a survey to solicit your input. In the meantime, if you have comments to share or language to suggest, please email us at

Sally Erny to Lead National CASA's Government Relations Work

Sally Erny will be transitioning from her role as National Program Officer to a new role at National CASA. As National CASA's National Stakeholder Engagement Officer, Sally will lead our advocacy efforts, working alongside our outside counsel to help us secure the federal funds we need to make progress toward our shared goal of a CASA/GAL advocate for every child. Sally will be leading a team focused on building stronger relationships with the legislative, judicial, and executive branches of government, as well as working more closely with our child welfare partners to advance our common agendas. In these efforts Sally will be joined by Judicial Liaison Diane Nunn and our newly hired Stakeholder Engagement Liaison Erica Powell.

This upcoming fiscal year, as in past years, we will be requesting $12 million to support our network with pass-through grants, as well as training and technical assistance. In addition to working on fiscal year 2018 appropriations, we will be working on reauthorization of both the CASA program and the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA). Your partnership is critical in this effort, and we want to thank you for all you have done and all you will do in the coming year to help us build new relationships and strengthen existing ones in our nation's capital.

Child Abuse Prevention Month Tools and Resources


April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. Earlier this month, National CASA distributed a Child Abuse Prevention Month toolkit with a new campaign to help you with outreach during the month of April. The toolkit includes:
  • A sample press release
  • Graphics for your website and social media channels
  • Email communication templates
  • Sample email appeal text
  • Advertisements
  • Mailing collateral


If you have questions or need assistance with the toolkit, please email us at For other resources and ideas on how to mark Child Abuse Prevention Month, visit the Children's Bureau's outreach page.

National Volunteer Week: April 23-29, 2017

National Volunteer Week is April 23-29. CASA/GAL volunteers are at the heart of our shared mission to advocate for the best interests of America's children who have experienced abuse or neglect. Speaking last week at the CASA/GAL conference in Seattle, CASA program founder Judge David Soukup called Diana Smith, the 2017 G.F. Bettineski Child Advocate of the Year, "a hero by all accounts, doing everything that I hoped a CASA Volunteer could do for the kids I saw in my court." Use this milestone in April to thank your volunteers for their life-changing work on behalf of children.

Encourage your volunteers to share their stories in April by joining the Points of Light Foundation's National Volunteer Week #ivolunteer social media campaign. Download a printable #ivolunteer signboard, and ask your volunteers to customize it with what inspires or motivates them to serve as CASA/GAL volunteers and what volunteering means to them. Encourage them to take a photo holding the sign, and share on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter using #ivolunteer and #NVW.

Visit the Points of Light website for more resources as they become available.

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

National CASA Association | 800.628.3233 | 100 West Harrison, North Tower, Suite 500, Seattle, WA 98119 |

National CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) ©2015. The National CASA logo, CASA ®, "A Powerful Voice in a Child’s Life," "Stand Up for an Abused Child," "Speak Up for a Child," "Light of Hope" and "Give the Light of Hope to a Child" are all registered trademarks of National CASA.