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Washington CASA Association is a network of 10 local programs in Washington state serving 12 counties. Through our valued membership with National CASA/GAL, we belong to a network of 950 community-based programs nationwide, that recruit, screen, train, and support court-appointed special advocate (CASA) and guardian ad litem (GAL) volunteers. Those advocates are volunteers, just like you, who stand up and speak out to help children experiencing abuse and neglect.


CASA/GAL Volunteers make a life-changing difference

Local CASA/GAL Programs make a life changing difference for children and youth in Washington.

For a child who has experienced neglect or abuse, having a caring CASA Volunteer to advocate for them can make a life changing difference. 

 

How CASA Volunteers Help

Children who have experienced abuse or neglect are involved with multiple systems—the court system, the child welfare system, the health care system, and the school system. CASA volunteers  help connect the dots between these systems to ensure that information is shared, when appropriate, to get the best possible outcomes for children and youth.

During the school year  CASA volunteers advocate for children to ensure they have access to the educational resources needed.


Call to Action

If you would like to support the children, youth and families, learn how you can become a CASA/GAL volunteer here.

Latest News

Parents rely on a range of center- and home-based options for their children’s early care and education (ECE). Providers support children’s early learning and development, and give parents time and space to pursue their own school, work, and training opportunities. Despite these myriad benefits, many families face barriers to accessing care—particularly regulated ECE programs—due to limited supply and high costs. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated such barriers as the ECE field deals with staffing and financial challenges.

Home visitors can help families learn about the complex ECE system, connect them to services, and ease the enrollment process. They can support families in searching for and selecting an ECE provider that meets their needs.

This research brief summarizes the available research to address the following questions:

How does ECE benefit children and families?
What challenges do families face accessing ECE programs?
How can home visiting better refer and connect families to ECE services?
What are the implications for research and practice?

The authors discuss four types of resources that can help home visiting programs better support ECE referrals and connections.

This brief was developed for the National Home Visiting Resource Center and is available on its website. The NHVRC is led by James Bell Associates in partnership with the Urban Institute. Support is provided by the Heising-Simons Foundation and previously from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

“Bringing a pack of diapers to a home builds trust because it sends a message that I see you, I see your need.”

—Alyson Jacobson, Director of Home Visiting Services, Prince George’s Child Resource Center

One in three families in the United States struggles to provide clean diapers for their babies. To alleviate the health problems and economic concerns associated with diaper need, a Maryland-based home visiting program partnered with its local diaper bank. In this video produced for the National Home Visiting Resource Center, program staff across partner organizations share their experiences and how critical the partnership is to their work.

Also see our research brief on the “Role of Home Visiting in Addressing Diaper Need” for other promising strategies.

External Links:

“Addressing Diaper Need: A Partnership Story”: https://nhvrc.org/diaper-need-partnership-story/

NHVRC YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lc_gZjx4IqE&t=24s

The video is available on the National Home Visiting Resource Center website. The NHVRC is led by James Bell Associates in partnership with the Urban Institute. Support is provided by the Heising-Simons Foundation and was previously provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

A growing number of children live in families in which one parent has custody of the children and the other parent lives separately, without custody. The Child Support Enforcement program is intended to strengthen families by securing support from noncustodial parents for their children. For noncustodial parents with steady employment and financial resources, the program can work well. But the child support system works less well for noncustodial parents who cannot pay and face barriers to employment. This brief examines how policies impact families required to participate in child support and noncustodial parents who cannot afford to pay, and it highlights five innovations aiming to improve the way the child support system interacts with low-income noncustodial parents and their children.

In the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder, scrutiny of police officers—including those in schools—has increased. Social science research has shown that school mental health staff members contribute more to positive student outcomes than school police. Nonetheless, high school students in 37 states are more likely to attend a school with a police officer than with a social worker.

Key Numbers

Data from the 2017–18 academic year show the following:

Fifty-five percent of high school students, 38 percent of middle school students, and 18 percent of elementary school students attend a school with police presence, though the rates in high school and middle school have dropped since 2013–14 (when 67 percent of high schools and 45 percent of middle schools had a police officer).
The four states with the highest shares of high school students in schools with police officers are Virginia (92 percent), South Carolina (87 percent), Tennessee (86 percent), and Georgia (85 percent).
Forty percent of high school students, 33 percent of middle school students, and 31 percent of elementary school students attend a school with a social worker.
States with the lowest rates of social workers in high school are Oklahoma (5 percent), Florida (9 percent), Mississippi (13 percent), and Alabama (15 percent). States with the highest shares of their high school students in schools with social workers are Rhode Island (92 percent), New Jersey (89 percent), Connecticut (89 percent), and Maine (79 percent).
Sixty-two percent of students in high schools that are 20 to 80 percent students of color see a police officer in their school staff.
The likelihood of a student of color attending a high school with a social worker is roughly 40 percent, regardless of the school’s racial demographics.

Implications

School mental health support staff members and school police officers are both significant investments, but social workers are ideally positioned to help students and help address underlying inequities. Though the presence of police decreases the rates of serious student misbehavior, it is also associated with increased law enforcement referrals for nonserious crimes and decreased rates of high school graduation. Hiring a well-trained school mental health staff, meanwhile, improves student academic and socioemotional skills, high school graduation rates, and school climate while decreasing disciplinary incidents.

Though police and social workers are not mutually exclusive, understanding which students encounter which support staff each day can highlight disparities in educational experiences. Removing policing and punitive discipline and replacing them with equitable access to mental health staff and safe schools can be a critical step toward creating a public schooling system that is equipped to meaningfully serve all students.

Explore the Data

GitHub
Education Data Portal: 2017–18 Civil Rights Data Collection

Additional Resources

Youth of Color
What does the “Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act” mean for students?
School social workers and educational outcomes
Do police keep schools safe? Fuel the school-to-prison pipeline? Here’s what research says.
3 Key Questions for Rethinking Student Safety Investments
Social work services in schools: Evaluation of a community-school social work model
Results from a statewide school-based mental health program: Effects on school climate
Police in schools and student arrest rates across the United States: Examining differences by race, ethnicity, and gender
The prevalence of police officers in US schools
Cops & No Counselors: How the lack of school mental health staff is harming students
Patrolling public schools: The impact of funding for school police on student discipline and long‐term education outcomes

Partnerships between child care providers and food access initiatives are a promising approach to supporting young children’s nutrition. In this brief, we drawing from examples of two such partnerships that received funding from the Walmart Healthier Food Access grant and highlight three promising strategies those partnerships employ: one that supports children and families directly, one that fosters the capacity of child care providers and their ability to support child nutrition in their own care settings, and one that organizes at a systems level to better coordinate efforts that target families with young children. We provide evidence-based recommendations for building these partnerships in local communities.

This appendix describes the data and methodology used to estimate federal program and tax expenditures on children in Kids’ Share 2021: Report on Federal Expenditures on Children through 2020 and Future Projections.

Public spending on children represents an effort to invest in the nation’s future by supporting children’s healthy development and human potential. To inform policymakers, children’s advocates, and the general public about how public funds are spent on children, this 15th edition of the annual Kids’ Share report provides an updated analysis of federal expenditures on children from 1960 to 2020. This year’s Kids’ Share report also provides a view of public expenditures from the nation’s initial responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our projections of federal expenditures on children through 2031 give a sense of how budget priorities were scheduled to unfold based on economic and legislative responses as of May 2021 but do not include legislation that might be enacted by the end of 2021. View a single-page formatted version of the report with text and charts side-by-side here  .

A few highlights of the chartbook:

Federal expenditures per child were significantly higher in 2020 than in 2019 and prior years, reflecting federal relief efforts in response to the pandemic. In 2020, the federal government spent about $7,800 per child younger than age 19. Federal expenditures are projected to surge even higher in 2021, to $10,700 per child, as the federal pandemic response continues, though under the law in place as of May 2021 they are scheduled to fall back to prepandemic levels.
COVID-19 relief bills enacted during the pandemic expanded assistance to children through three rounds of stimulus checks, an increase in the child tax credit (CTC), an education stabilization fund, expanded child care funding, increased nutritional assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and increased federal funding for Medicaid. Dozens of other children’s programs and tax credits received smaller increases.
Tax provisions and health programs remain the two largest categories of federal support for children in 2020, accounting for more than three-fifths of all federal expenditures on children. Spending on children through tax provisions is projected to spike dramatically in 2021 as a result of the stimulus checks administered through the tax code and a temporary increase in the CTC.
Despite increased dollar amounts spent on children in 2020, as a share of federal outlays, the $482 billion invested in children in 2020 fell to 7.4 percent of all federal outlays, down from roughly 9 percent in recent years as overall federal spending swelled in response to the pandemic. The children’s share of the federal budget is projected to further decline slightly to 7.2 percent over the next decade, under laws in place as of May 2021.
Interest payments on the national debt are projected, under laws in place as of May 2021, to grow as a share of the budget, from 5 percent in 2020 to 12 percent by 2031, reflecting a higher national debt and projected rising interest rates.
As a share of the economy (GDP), federal outlays for children grew during the pandemic but by significantly less than other budget priorities. Federal spending during the pandemic grew from about 20 percent of GDP to a post–World War II high of 30 percent of GDP, with spending on children growing from around 2 percent to 2.3 percent of GDP.
Over the next decade, all categories of spending on children as a share of GDP are projected to decline below prepandemic levels. Most categories also see declines or remain at similar levels in real dollars.

Home-based child care (HBCC) providers support children’s development and help parents work. In 2019, slightly more than 1 million paid or listed HBCC providers cared for 4.3 million children younger than age 13, and another 4 million unpaid HBCC providers cared for another 8 million children. Despite the important role these providers play, however, many appear unlikely to participate in or benefit from public supports. Our recent reviews of their involvement with a diverse set of federal programs and services, including the Child Care and Development Fund, the Child and Adult Care Food Program, home visiting services supported by multiple funding streams, infant and early childhood mental health consultation, and financial supports from the Small Business Administration, find that HBCC providers are consistently less likely to benefit from these programs and services. This brief provides an overview of some common barriers HBCC providers face across these federal programs and services and explores the extent to which networks of home-based providers—such as staffed family child care networks or informal networks—could help address these barriers if provided appropriate resources and supports.

This brief provides an overview of opportunities, challenges, and steps needed to expand infant and early childhood mental health consultation (IECMHC) to support more home-based child care (HBCC) providers. It is one of a series of briefs on supporting HBCC providers’ participation in a number of federal programs or service systems. Based on interviews with experts and a review of the literature, we first describe the HBCC context and how it is unique and then describe the basics of mental health consultation, how it is funded, and its benefits for child care providers and children. We discuss challenges and considerations for expanding IECMHC to support more HBCC providers, recommended action steps, and future directions for research to address gaps in knowledge.

Diaper need—i.e., not having enough diapers to keep an infant or child clean, dry, and healthy—is a common problem that can impact children’s physical and developmental health, parent mental health, and family economic well-being. Home visitors can help alleviate diaper need because of their frequent interactions with families of young children. Home visiting programs can partner with local diaper banks to help distribute supplies directly to parents and caregivers. This research brief produced for the National Home Visiting Resource Center summarizes existing research and identifies four promising strategies to address this important issue.

 

This brief was developed for the National Home Visiting Resource Center and is available on its website. The NHVRC is led by James Bell Associates in partnership with the Urban Institute. Support is provided by the Heising-Simons Foundation and previously from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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