March 19, 2020
A message from Tara Perry, CEO, National CASA/GAL Association for Children
Dear Friend of National CASA/GAL,
During this time of uncertainty, as we all focus on caring for our families and loved ones, we want you to know that we are thinking of you as well—our friends, supporters and our communities. Nothing is more important to us than your health, safety and well-being. As we all travel through challenging circumstances, please know that we at National CASA/GAL Association for Children are deeply grateful for your support and commitment to children who have experienced abuse or neglect. While details about the outbreak continue to evolve, we at National CASA/GAL, are thinking about you, our volunteers, 950 member programs and most especially the children we all serve.
There is no time more important than now—to stay in touch with children whose well-being we are always concerned about. They need our services even more today.
I’d like to give you an update on how we are responding as a nationwide network. Our local and state program leaders are in frequent communication with their staffs, volunteers, children and community partners impacted by recent events. Here are a just a few of the efforts under way:
- We are encouraging programs to provide support to volunteers—to set up alternative ways to visit with social workers, educators and others including texting, phone calls and video conferencing. While face-to-face interaction is so integral to our work, we recognize that temporary strategies will help continue the relationships that are so important to our children, families and volunteers.
- We are also following the guidance of local court systems which could include calling or video conferencing into permanency placement meetings and court hearings, if scheduled.
- We are providing CASA/GAL programs with recommended steps for communicating about COVID-19 to their volunteers, partners, board members and others.
- Thanks to technology, we are able to offer training opportunities to current and new volunteers and our network of state and local programs. And, we are still recruiting volunteers and offering them virtual training now—for when we are able to resume our work in the future.
- Many of our state and local programs are hit financially as they typically host 1-2 fundraisers to support their work. We are thankful to be able to offer them financial assistance so they can continue to support the children they serve in their communities.
- We are asking program leaders to help their volunteers consider the impact, beyond health, that the outbreak might have on the children and their families, and foster families—loss of job or income, loss of child care and beyond—and advocate for different or modified services, if necessary.
Every day, we are working diligently to evolve our plans so that we can provide the best possible advocacy for the more than 271,000 children served by the CASA/GAL network. In fact, we believe we have an even greater commitment to serve our most vulnerable children in the face of these current, unforeseen circumstances.
It is in difficult times like these that we are reminded even more how much your kindness, generosity and thoughtfulness means to the children, their families and National CASA/GAL. It is truly a privilege to work alongside our staff, Board of Trustees, local and state programs, more than 93,000 volunteers, our communities all across the country and so many others who need our support. Thank you immensely for making a lasting difference in the lives of children—you make all of this work possible. We value your involvement beyond words and couldn’t do our work without you.
With Deepest Gratitude,