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National CASA/GAL Association Membership and Accreditation and Training and Technical Assistance Program

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The Victims of Child Abuse Act of 1990 contains provisions that support efforts to ensure that all abused and neglected children involved in dependency proceedings have access to a court-appointed special advocate. Through the Court Appointed Special Advocate/Guardian ad Litem (CASA/GAL) program, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) seeks to ensure that abused and neglected children receive high-quality best interest advocacy in dependency court and the child welfare system, resulting in the child’s placement in a permanent home, with a preference for placement with the child’s family of origin, if safely possible.

Over 588,000 children have substantiated instances of abuse or neglect in the United States annually, and hundreds of thousands get placed in foster care. Research on youth in foster care consistently demonstrates they are among the most underserved, at-risk, and high-risk in our country. Many exhibit multiple characteristics predictive of or correlative to involvement in the juvenile justice system. Given the specific needs of at-risk children and youth in foster care, there is a significant need to provide children before the court with best-interest advocacy that addresses the risk factors and adverse outcomes they experience. Court-appointed special advocate (CASA)/guardian ad litem (GAL) volunteers are routinely appointed to serve youth with the highest risk levels among youth in the child welfare system. The National CASA/GAL Association supports and promotes court-appointed volunteer advocacy for children who have experienced abuse and neglect so that every child can be safe, establish permanence, and have the opportunity to thrive.

In 2019, 948 state and local CASA/GAL programs in 49 states and the District of Columbia recruited, trained, and supervised 96,929 volunteers. They worked individually with 276,929 children to ensure that the court met the child's best interests. Studies have demonstrated the life-changing impact of the CASA/GAL model: after case dismissal, children are less likely to re-enter the system, their school performance improves, and their families are more likely to receive necessary services.

The CASA nationwide network currently cannot serve all abused and neglected children needing best interest advocacy. To expand volunteer advocacy to more children, National CASA/GAL provides technical assistance and training to local and state CASA/GAL organizations, awareness and outreach to the public, funding through grants and standards, and membership requirements linked to a system to ensure that programs maintain good governance and the highest quality program management and operations.

Provider Organization

The National Court Appointed Special Advocate/Guardian ad Litem Association (CASA/GAL)
Award Details


The National CASA/GAL Association provides:

  • Subgrants to state and local organizations to support their efforts in carrying out the CASA/GAL mission.
  • Training and professional development for program staff and volunteers, including the National Volunteer Pre-Service Training Curriculum, Fostering Futures Training Curriculum, and significant continuing education resources.
  • Standards for local programs and state organizations; and a review system to assure quality while identifying areas where programs can improve.
  • Technical assistance in all areas of program operation, including working with volunteers, program management, governance, and issue resolution.
  • Public awareness and volunteer recruitment materials, including PSAs; radio, print, and out-of-home advertising materials; photo and video assets; business collateral; and design templates.


  • Child Protection and Advocacy Professionals
  • Child Welfare Personnel
  • Community Members
  • Court Personnel
  • Faith-Based Organizations
  • Families
  • Judges
  • Mental Health Professionals
  • Mentoring Professionals
  • Nonprofit Organizations
  • Prosecutors
  • School Personnel
  • Social Services
  • Substance Use Professionals
  • Tribal Community
  • Volunteers
  • Youth
  • Youth Advocates
  • Youth Services Professionals


TTA is provided to state and local CASA/GAL organizations and other stakeholders upon request. Contact the National CASA/GAL Association for more information.



  • Training and professional development webinars and resource materials for program staff and volunteers.
  • Standards for local programs and state organizations and a system of review.
  • Technical assistance resources in areas of program operation including working with volunteers, program management, governance and issue resolution. 
  • Public awareness and volunteer recruitment materials for local programs and state organizations including PSAs, radio, print, and out-of-home advertising materials, photo and video assets, business collateral and design templates. 
  • General information for the public about the CASA/GAL network and the children and families we serve. 

Sally Wilson Erny
Deputy Chief Executive Officer
[email protected]

  • Child Welfare System
  • Preventing Child Abuse, Neglect, and Victimization
  • Youth Development

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Date Published: October 14, 2020