August 2017

In this issue of CASA/GAL News:

Welcome to New State Development Officer

We are pleased to announce that Blondean Jones has accepted the role of State Development Officer with National CASA.

Blondean will start on Sept. 5. She will work remotely from Atlanta.

Some of you know Blondean, having worked with her through the State Leadership Council, at state director meetings or at the national conference. She has provided leadership for the past several years in the Cass Elias McCarter Guardian ad Litem Program in Columbia, South Carolina, serving as the state director since 2014. She has been involved in South Carolina CASA programs since 2010. She served as one of the original members on the State Leadership Council.

Prior to this, she was a program manager for The Southside Adult and Family Literacy Project, a human resources manager for Malibu’s Learning World and a human service coordinator with the South Carolina Commission for the Blind.

In her role as the State Development Officer, she will provide leadership, oversight, and assistance in strengthening the state network. This is a critical role as we continue implementing the state development initiative. Blondean will be working to identify state development plans.

Blondean’s commitment to this work, along with her success at both the state and local program level, gives her a valuable perspective. National CASA is committed to filling program roles with people who have experience in child welfare, network knowledge and an understanding of the transformation we are going through.

Please join us in welcoming Blondean to her new role!

Grant Applications Timeline

National CASA is pleased to announce the timeline for upcoming 2017-2018 grant opportunities for state organizations and local programs.

  • The grant opportunities available to state organizations will be the Growth, Development and Capacity-Building categories according to the following timeline:
    Aug. 15, 2017—applications and instructions available for Growth and Capacity-building grants; states identified and notified by National CASA of eligibility for the Development category
    Sep. 15, 2017—applications due by 5 p.m. PST
    Nov. 1, 2017—funding decisions final (grant period starts/eligible expenses retroactive to Oct. 1, 2017)

  • The grant opportunities for local programs will be according to the following timeline:
    Oct. 2, 2017—applications, instructions and funding criteria made available
    Oct. 31, 2017—applications due by 5 p.m. PST
    Dec. 15, 2017—funding decisions final
    Jan. 1, 2018—start of the grant period
To obtain the applications and instructions, look for email alerts and check the National CASA Grants webpage starting on the dates noted above. Specifics regarding eligibility, total funds available, maximum grant award amounts and grant training webinar dates will be provided.

New Flex Learning Invoice Process

We recently implemented a new Flex Learning invoicing process. When your Flex Learning dates are confirmed, you’ll be emailed an invoice. Flex Learning fees are $75 per Moodle Room, in which you can enroll up to 15 trainees. Payments are accepted via check mailed to the Seattle office or via credit card online and are due two weeks prior to your start date, at the same time you send in your roster. Programs with unpaid Flex Learning fees will not be able to schedule future courses. For any programs with outstanding invoices, we will be contacting you over the next two weeks to collect any outstanding payments.

We’re Reaching Out to Update Program Contacts


Member Services will be reaching out this month to confirm program contact information. We will provide a fillable form to make updates. This will support implementation of the new customer relationship management (CRM) system. This is part of a long-term technology initiative to consolidate and improve database technology to help answer key strategic questions such as:

  • What makes the biggest difference for children who have experienced abuse or neglect?
  • What makes volunteers most effective?
  • What can we learn from our programs that have the strongest outcomes?

Opioid Crisis Campaign in Development

As we are all well aware, opioid use is on the rise nation-wide, destroying lives and contributing to the growing number of children coming into the foster care system. Indeed, the opioid survey we shared with the network last month shows that 85 percent of CASA/GAL programs reported that opioid abuse is affecting the children and families we serve and 67 percent see opioids as a strain on the child welfare system.

Because CASA/GAL programs play a critical role in supporting children impacted by parental substance abuse, National CASA is ramping up communications and outreach in this area to increase public awareness and create volunteer recruitment and fundraising opportunities with our existing base.

Over the next couple months, National CASA will be collaborating with states most impacted by the opioid epidemic to share campaign materials, receive feedback, and collaborate on custom fundraising, awareness-building, and volunteer recruitment efforts. Once we gather feedback and input from these pilot states, we will create a tool-kit for network-wide distribution to include customizable fundraising templates and press releases.

Play Your Part Brings Thousands of Toys to Foster Kids
Thousands of foster children across more than 12 states are receiving toys thanks to the work of hundreds of volunteers from National CASA's partner, the Toy Industry Foundation.

Through their annual Play Your Part events —held in June in Los Angeles and July in Chicago — more than 75 toy manufacturing companies donated brand new toys and supported employees to volunteer in providing children in foster care the gift of play. During the half-day event hundreds of children enjoyed a variety of fun activities and received brand new toys. In addition to the time spent with children, toy industry volunteers helped sort hundreds of pallets of toys in preparation to be shipped to CASA/GAL programs across the country.

The Toy Industry Foundation generously supports CASA/GAL programs through this campaign and other donations. Since 2013, more than $3.7 million in toys have been distributed to more than 370,000 foster children.

March 2018 National Conference

Planning is under way for the next National CASA/GAL Conference. The dates will be March 9-13, 2018. The location will be Boston at the Sheraton Boston Hotel.

Mark your calendars now! We’ll be back in touch with more details soon.

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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