February 4, 2022
During Black History Month, National CASA/GAL reflects on its commitment to recruit more African American CASA or GAL volunteers
SEATTLE, Washington – As we observe Black History Month, the National CASA/GAL Association for Children is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). On any given day, 408,000 children are in the foster care system. Children of color are placed in U.S. foster care at higher rates than the national child population. It is estimated that 37.4% of all children – and 53% of African American children – experience a child protective services investigation by the age of 18. In addition to the disproportionality of children of color in the child welfare system, data shows that children of color experience less favorable outcomes than white children once in the system—from the type of out-of-home care placements to the rates at which they reunify with family members.
National CASA/GAL Association is committed to integrating DEI principles into the way we work, interact and engage, developing our network of 950 state organizations and local programs to reflect the diversity of the children and families we serve. In 2020, we created the DEI Learning Center to offer staff and volunteers special training resources aimed at developing cultural competencies and awareness, reducing disproportionality, and ensuring equitable outcomes for children, youth and families. This safe space allows CASA/GAL staff and volunteers to share perspectives and have tough conversations.
We also actively seek CASA/GAL volunteers who reflect the diversity of children and families they serve. National CASA/GAL’s Change a Child’s Story™ campaign calls out our commitment to diversifying our volunteer corps, specifically through recruitment of African American male volunteers. A CASA/GAL volunteer can be a caring, concerned and consistent adult in a child’s life. In 2020, nearly 632,000 children were in foster care, and only 242,000 had a CASA/GAL volunteer by their side. More volunteers are needed.
Black History Month is an opportunity to focus on what more we can do to enhance DEI practices within our nationwide network to best serve every child who has experienced abuse or neglect and needs an advocate. Please consider lending your voice by becoming a CASA or GAL volunteer in your community.