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Youth experiencing abuse or neglect

Why Become CASA/GAL?

The Problem: An Overwhelmed System

The child welfare system is in a state of crisis, partly due to the devastating opioid epidemic.   In 2018: 

  • 16,211 documented children in Washington were experiencing abuse and neglect 
  • More than 8,000 children are in Washington's out-of-home care on any given day
  • The average child spends more than 1 year in out-of-home care

(Source: Partners for Our Children & 2018 Annual Survey WA State CASA )

Out-of-Home Care

When children cannot remain safely in their home, they are placed in out-of-home care. Once a child is removed, the child welfare system works to find a safe and permanent home for the child. Most children ultimately reunify with their parents after all safety concerns have been addressed; however, some children exit to other permanency outcomes (e.g., adoption, guardianship)


How long does it take to find a permanent and safe home for children?

The Challenge: Not Enough Resources

In 2020

  • Local CASA/GAL programs served 4,173 children in Washington state who were experiencing abuse and neglect
  • 873 CASA/GAL volunteers were the voice for  for 3,131 children experiencing abuse and neglect
  • 1,699 children were placed in a safe and permanent home 

(Source: 2020 Annual Survey WA State CASA)

Why become a CASA/GAL: Proven Success

  • CASA /GAL volunteers are screened, trained and supported by CASA/GAL staff.
  • CASA/GAL volunteers form a one-on-one relationship with a child and get the full picture of the case.
  • Judges depend on CASA/GAL volunteers for critical information to help them make the most well-informed decisions.
  • In 2018, children with a CASA/GAL volunteer reached a permanent home faster, when compared with all children in out-of-home care.

Children who have experienced abuse or neglect fare better with a CASA/GAL volunteer by their side. Studies have shown:

  • They are more likely to find a safe, permanent home.
  • They are more likely to succeed in school.
  • They are half as likely to re-enter the foster care system.

(Source: National CASA/GAL for Children)

CASA/GAL volunteers impact in a nationwide movement

In 2018, there were 890 local programs across the nation that reported the following data:

Category Number or Percentage Details of Data Details of Data Details of Data
Children Served 271,800 70% under age 12 50% under age 6 Children under age 6 represent 41% of all children in foster care
Race/Ethnicity Demographics of Children Served 44% White 23% Black or African American 21% Hispanic (of any race)
National Children's Population by Race 51% White 14% Black or African American 25% Hispanic (of any race)
Living in Out-of-Home Care 82% 41% in non-relative foster family home 27% in relative foster home 18% under court protection while remaining in homes of origin
CASA/GAL Volunteers 93,300

Hours Served 5.5 million

Average Time Volunteer Assigned to One Child 76% served at least 2 years

Most Common Length of Time a Volunteer Was Assigned to a Child 1-2 years

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