CASA of Southwest Idaho has been awarded a $30,000 Core Model Grant from the National Court Appointed Special Advocate/Guardian ad Litem (CASA/GAL) Association for Children. Funds will be used to recruit, train and assign new volunteers to represent the best interests of children who have experienced abuse or neglect. Work done under the mentoring grant will target key populations such as American Indian/Alaska Native, rural and opioid-impacted youth.
There are nearly 950 CASA/GAL programs nationwide, including 49 state offices, supporting volunteers who work on behalf of children in the child welfare system. Their advocacy enables judges to make the most well-informed decisions for each child.
The mentoring grant will enable CASA of Southwest Idaho to focus on advocating for the needs of at-risk and underserved youth. Volunteers will also mentor youth, helping them increase their level of connectivity with community and family, improve educational outcomes, and reach stable placements.
Christina Walker, Executive Director of CASA of Southwest Idaho, said:
The goal of this grant is to increase available advocacy for children in Washington, Adams, Gem, Payette, and Owyhee counties. Our program will, over the next year, spend more time on community outreach, education, support, and resources in those counties while also working towards recruiting community members to support our program. One important area of support is volunteering as a child advocate for victims of abuse and neglect. Our program provides advocates with training, support, and supervision as they work towards better outcomes for these children. A child with a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) is half as likely to be re-abused and reenter care as well as eight times more likely to graduate high school are just a couple of benefits of having a CASA.
The federal grant funds distributed through National CASA/GAL are provided by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, US Department of Justice, as authorized under the Victims of Child Abuse Act of 1990. In 2019, National CASA/GAL was awarded nearly $7 million in federal grants.