The following are recent survey responses

by CASAs answering the question

“What community CASA volunteers

bring to abused children and

the Child Protection System they serve.

Several spelling and grammatical changes have been made for clarity.

We advocate for these children without paycheck and without allegiance to anyone or anything other than the child. We are the program’s ‘deep bench,’ skilled substitutes available to supplement a very limited (high-turnover) team of paid GALs. I’d say we are an indispensable asset.

An ethical commitment to fulfill a calling to advocate for vulnerable children because it is right and not for compensation.

Experience, time and enthusiasm.

We have the ability to spend more time with the families and children.

We only take cases we want to take and have enough time to handle well. We do this passionately and free of charge.

We are a community provided source, not part of the System/Department. We are totally independent and work many hours voluntarily advocating for children in the system.

Tremendous amounts of life and lived experiences, and, in some cases, many years in professional positions serving children and families.

We support our kids on evenings and weekends with a deep commitment to our cases.

Our commitment, dedication, life experience and by definition, more time, = greater ability to focus on few cases to be a personal, thorough, independent voice for children in terrible circumstances.

Prior to Supervisor Marti Swanson’s death, I would have been very likely to continue volunteering as a volunteer CASA. With her passing, I am unsure if I will continue due to concerns around supervision and guidance.

In my opinion, volunteers have significantly more time to invest in getting to know the child and the family system. With smaller caseloads, strong supervision, and ongoing training, volunteers are able to be strong advocates for what is in the child’s best interest.

Volunteers bring their own educational backgrounds and life experiences to the GAL program as well. The greatest value is the extra time we have to build trusting relationships with the child, their parents, families, foster families, providers. This allows us to learn more information which helps inform the best outcomes for children.

Diverse perspective and support to a busy system.

They help meet caseload staffing needs (that are often not being met or met with too high caseloads).

Advocacy for the best outcome for children in need.

The fact we are volunteers provides us with an additional mechanism to connect with children and their families. When I first introduce myself and explain my role to families they are amazed
that what I do for them I do for free. For many it is the first time they meet someone from within the system who is helping them without getting paid. Parents are extremely grateful, kids don’t
believe it. I feel everyone involved with the families has a great appreciation for our efforts.

Create community awareness of issues kids and family face, bring transparency to child protection, and help build confidence in our courts. Also humanize the process, lower employee caseloads and bring
diversity in many ways.

A layman’s wisdom and perspective on the Child Welfare system – fresh perspective from outside the system.

Positive impact on the case regarding what is in the best interest of the child(ren) involved.

A huge service to children needing a support person during their foster time.

Our value is to the children we serve and the families they represent as well as the foster parents that are actively caring for the children. We have the experience, expertise, tie and resourcefulness to assess all
parties and encourage communication.

Volunteers bring a diversity of life experience and subject matter expertise and share their time generously.

We provide stability for the children they work with even as the workers, judges, and sometimes placements change frequently (73% of CASAs stay in the program for 5 to 20 years).

Several of my families and children remained in my cases load for over ten years.

As a volunteer, I only take 1-2 cases on at a time and thus allows my time, energy, and dedication to be at a level that every judge in a case I have been on, states the wealth and depth of knowledge surrounding
the situation. My connection to the children and insight into the best interest if their needs is so thorough and insightful that he/she feels they have the information to make decisions based on the very best
interest of the child. We have a system where the number of families a social worker and employed guardian ad litem is often pushed to the limit. Volunteer GAL’s take fewer cases to make sure that children
are not falling through cracks. I also believe that the dedication it takes to do the work Volunteer GAL’s do, ensures that only those who will make it their life’s mission to look out for the best interest of these
children are the ones taking cases in an ever growing system of children in need!

The value in volunteers is to take some of the workload off of employees, which allows us all to spend more time with the children.

Time, resources, experience.

Most volunteers are older and bring lifes’ experiences to their roles as GALs.

We have the time to focus on the child and family and really get to know them and their needs to more effectively advocate to the court “best interest of the child”

Flexibility, less case management, more time to spend with kiddos ie weekends.

A fresh set of eyes, a love for children, and more time to devote to each case.

Employees are overwhelmed with work and volunteers lighten the load and are able to dedicate more time and effort to children and families in need.

Volunteers work for their kiddos, not for money. Volunteers choose their caseload based on the time they’re able to commit to their kids.; they’re not stressed or time-poor.

Volunteers don’t require payroll or benefits; cost savings for the State and County.

Volunteers are 100% committed to serving the best interests of the kiddos they serve.

Volunteers bring knowledge/expertise/experience from a variety of professional roles and industries beyond child welfare; which adds depth, creative problem-solving, perspective, and innovation to the role.

Volunteers are a critically important asset to the Juvenile Court processes.

As initially a volunteer and then a 20 + year employee I can readily state the key aspects of the positive benefits of volunteers Volunteer GALS spend more time learning about the children and family. They also stay with the children
longer than any other party to the cases. This provides continuity and a historical perspective that know one else has.

Age, wisdom, skills, compassion, competence, high quality metrics, the time it takes to work on a case effectively, a diversity of knowledge and skills, a non-institutional voice for children that isn’t part
of the paid ecosystem of “well-credentialed professionals” that provides better outcomes for children.

Dedication; professionalism; time; life experience out of the box thinking; lots of time to devote to a few cases; life experience outside the child protection

Time, energy, and a love for what we are doing. Volunteers in this program are not underpaid or overworked and do a great job for the families and kiddos we work with.

Providing a personal community voice for the child in the complex and often impersonal court system.

In the read more below are the data results of a survey

of current MN CASA guardian ad Litem volunteers.

GAL Survey Results