Dear Friends and Partners,
Thank you for your unyielding support for the mission of the National Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Association. It is because of you - our committed volunteers, dedicated state and local program staff, and generous donors - that we have made a positive impact on behalf of children in need.
As we celebrate 35 years of advocacy for children, we reaffirm our commitment to addressing a growing need and increasing our impact throughout our communities. Our multi-year strategy is built on a framework that includes five enabling focus areas: 1) Strong Support to Programs, 2) Effective Partnerships with State Organizations, 3) Planning, Research and Analysis, 4) a Platform for Financial Stability, and 5) Governance Effectiveness.
This framework offers the necessary platform to enable state organizations to provide strong support to local programs. We are working on four initiatives to support this structure: 1) Network Development, 2) Organizational Development, 3) Quality Service and Performance Measurement, and 4) Stakeholder Engagement and External Affairs.
A GROWING CAPACITY
As part of the network development initiative, we began building a highly effective standards model, strengthening our support to local programs and enhancing our training delivery standards. These initiatives, along with a new governance excellence program, will help members of our network enhance their capacity to serve local communities.
Maintaining the quality of service to children is paramount to achieve our mission. Working with and through our state organizations, we are conducting a gap analysis that assesses areas where we do not currently have program coverage. This work explores where there are the poorest outcomes for children and where programs have the capacity to expand.
A GROWING NEED
The number of children removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect continues to increase, rising by more than 40,000 nationwide from 2012-2016. At the same time, we know the issues that children face continue to evolve.
To address these needs, we know we must increase our volunteer base. We understand the importance of accelerating the implementation of our strategy to serve more children. The strategy includes recruiting and training thousands of dependable and trusted advocates who offer hope and stability at a time when a child’s life hangs in the balance.
We are improving our training programs. This includes updating our approach to training volunteers and facilitators, enhancing training materials, and developing new components, such as flexible, online learning options. Our new curriculum addresses the challenges that children face, like substance abuse, trauma, and economic disparity.
A GROWING IMPACT
Last year we received the results of an independent study that examines the caliber of our advocacy, as well as the effectiveness of our service model. The results showed that children with a CASA volunteer fare much better than those without; they spend 25 percent less time in foster care and are much less likely to return to the child welfare system. Our volunteers helped to close more than 100,000 cases in 2017, providing permanency for vulnerable children.
Looking ahead, we will continue to work to support our strategy, to achieve our mission and to ensure children who have experienced abuse or neglect have a CASA volunteer speaking up for their best interests.
Thank you for your caring, your advocacy, and your partnership.
Chief Executive Officer
William "Bill" Collins
Board of Trustees Chair