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 )
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?
6 months since entering Out-of-Home Care
28% Reunification with family of origin
12 months since entering Out-of-Home Care
34% Reunification with family of origin
24 months since entering Out-of-Home Care
46% Reunification with family of origin
Source: Partners for Our Children
The Challenge: Not Enough Resources
- 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|
|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|