October 7, 2021
The National CASA/GAL Association for Children raises awareness about its need for more volunteer advocates
Change a Child’s Story™ national ad awareness campaign serves as a call to action
Contact: Kimberly Willis Green, External Communications Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org, 206-774-7245
SEATTLE, Wash.–To meet the increasing need to support children and youth who have experienced abuse or neglect, the National Court Appointed Special Advocate/Guardian ad Litem (CASA/GAL) Association for Children is calling for more volunteer advocates to lend their voice through its Change a Child’s Story™ brand awareness campaign. On any given day across the country, there are over 424,000 children and youth in the foster care system and roughly half do not have a CASA/GAL volunteer advocate working on their behalf. Caring volunteers are needed to support the hundreds of thousands of children who need a consistent advocate in their lives.
With 950 state organizations and local programs nationwide, National CASA/GAL supports and promotes volunteer advocacy for children and youth who have experienced abuse or neglect. Each volunteer, extensively screened, trained and supported, is appointed by a judge to advocate for a child’s best interest in court. In 2020, the number of CASA/GAL volunteers decreased nationwide by 12.5 percent, mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Closed offices, delayed court proceedings, limited in-person visitation and virtual hearings became more prevalent. CASA/GAL programs quickly pivoted to host virtual volunteer recruitment events, online pre-service trainings, and virtual swearing-in ceremonies for new volunteers in their communities nationwide. CASA/GAL programs trained 20,205 new volunteers in 2020, compared to 22,739 trained in 2019.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has turned things upside down for children and youth entering the child welfare system,” said National CASA/GAL Association for Children CEO Tara Lisa Perry. “During uncertain times, the consistency of a trusted adult who listens, checks in, follows up, and holds the system accountable makes a huge difference. We urge caring adults to get involved so children, youth and families can continue to thrive.”
The national campaign is an extension of National CASA/GAL’s previous brand awareness campaign launched in 2019 that encourages audiences to learn more about the organization and how they can become a CASA or GAL volunteer. The national campaign will run at least through December 2021 on social channels, television, cinema-lobby and office-building screens, radio stations, and at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL). Not only is ATL the busiest airport in the nation, but the busiest in the world, with over 110 million passengers in 2019, making this a strategic choice to build and increase brand awareness. There are plans to launch the campaign in several markets across the country this fall.
The campaign reflects National CASA/GAL’s commitment to diversifying its volunteers, more specifically, males and African American male volunteers to reflect the diverse children it serves. In addition to English ads, Spanish-language ads will run this fall to reach bilingual Hispanics and Spanish-speaking audiences.
About the National Court Appointed Special Advocate®/Guardian ad Litem Association for Children
The National Court Appointed Special Advocate/Guardian ad Litem (CASA/GAL) Association for Children, together with its 950 state and local member programs, supports and promotes court-appointed volunteer advocacy so that every child who has experienced abuse or neglect in the United States can be safe, have a permanent home and have the opportunity to thrive. National CASA/GAL offers leadership and support to the network of programs and leads its continued growth. CASA/GAL volunteers and staff work every day to advocate for children, youth and families. To learn more, visit nationalcasagal.org.