April 18, 2022
Proactive partnerships help families thrive — A message from our CEO
SEATTLE, Washington – There is not a day that goes by that my colleagues and I don’t think about how we can support and improve the lives of children and youth in the child welfare system.
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, which recognizes the importance of communities working together proactively to prevent child abuse or neglect by helping to strengthen and support families. The National Court Appointed Special Advocate/Guardian ad Litem (CASA/GAL) Association for Children is leading a nationwide movement that supports and promotes court-appointed volunteer advocacy so every child who has experienced abuse or neglect can be safe, have a permanent home and the opportunity to thrive. Our nationwide network of 950 state organizations and local programs provides highly-trained volunteers to advocate on behalf of children and youth inside and beyond the courtroom. As a consistent, caring adult in the child’s life, CASA/GAL volunteers help the judge make the most informed decisions for the well-being of the child.
Thriving families depend on strong support systems. Support can come from family, friends, neighbors and others in the community. Data show that while most people in financial need do not maltreat their children, poverty can increase the likelihood of maltreatment, particularly when poverty is combined with other risk factors, such as depression, substance use and social isolation.
To ensure that our network of CASA/GAL staff and volunteers are more well-informed about poverty and its impact on the children and families we serve, the National CASA/GAL Association for Children launched the Poverty Learning Series. The series provides a well-rounded learning experience and resources for CASA/GAL staff and volunteers to become more knowledgeable on the relationship between poverty and child abuse and neglect.
So whether it’s an infant or a 15-year-old teenager experiencing abuse or neglect, National CASA/GAL is dedicated to raising awareness about preventing child abuse, protecting children and helping them thrive. I am grateful for the almost 100,000 CASA/GAL volunteers who help identify resources for children and their families. This month, I encourage everyone to become a proactive partner in their community by supporting families. Also, as we observe National Volunteer Week April 17-23, National CASA/GAL will highlight volunteer stories and why they advocate on behalf of children in the child welfare system. I hope this will inspire you to get involved and support our mission. Together, we can prevent child abuse and neglect one family at a time.
Tara Lisa Perry
CEO, National CASA/GAL Association for Children