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Membership and Accreditation Program and Training and Technical Assistance Program

Award Information

Award #
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $10,620,644)

This program furthers the Department’s mission by ensuring that court appointed special advocates are available to all victims of child abuse or neglect and that children receive high-quality representation in dependency court hearings.

The National Court-Appointed Special Advocate Association (CASA) supports and promotes court-appointed volunteer advocacy for abused and neglected children so that every child can be safe, establish permanence, and have the opportunity to thrive. In 2016, more than 900 state organizations and local CASA programs in 49 states and the District of Columbia recruited, trained, and supervised nearly 87,000 volunteers. CASA organizations work individually with more than 280,000 children to ensure that the best interests of the child are met by the court, child welfare system, and community. Reentry studies have demonstrated the life-changing impact of the CASA model: children are far less likely to languish in foster care (leaving care an average of 4 months faster) or reenter the system after their cases have been dismissed (only half as likely to reenter), and are more likely to receive needed services. When children cannot be safely returned to their parents, children with a CASA volunteer are more likely to be adopted.

The nationwide CASA network currently has the capacity to serve 40 percent of abused and neglected children who are in need of advocacy. With FY 2018 funding, National CASA proposes to expand volunteer advocacy to more children by providing (1) technical assistance and training to local and state CASA organizations, (2) a comprehensive nationwide volunteer recruitment and retention campaign to heighten awareness of the CASA mission and the plight of children in the child welfare system, (3) competitively awarded subgrants to support state and local programs, and (4) an accreditation system to ensure that state and local CASA volunteer programs maintain the highest quality of advocacy. Results will be measured by growth in the number of children served and volunteers recruited, screened, trained, and activated, as well as greater diversity in volunteers to more closely reflect the children served.

No portion of the project budget will be used to conduct research, as described by OJJDP in the “Note on Project Evaluations” section on page 17 of the Grant Announcement.

This program furthers the Department's mission by providing grants and cooperative agreements for training and technical assistance to organizations that OJJDP designates.

The FY 2019 Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Membership and Accreditation Program and Training and Technical Assistance program seeks to serve and improve outcomes for children in the child welfare system; provide effective advocacy for abused and neglected children, including foster care youth; and build on the training and technical assistance program that OJJDP has developed in collaboration with the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association (National CASA). This program will expand the national membership and accreditation program for state and local CASAs and make available training and technical assistance to support new and existing state and local CASA programs across the nation. The program will focus on providing CASA services in communities where representation rates are low, the numbers of abused and neglected children are high, and service systems do not meet the needs of families and children. In addition, the program will provide training and technical assistance in volunteer advocate recruitment and retention, volunteer advocate training, diversity, data collection and reporting, sustainability, and program standards.

Date Created: September 26, 2018