When this CASA Guardian ad Litem (GAL) volunteer began speaking and writing on the horrors of child abuse in the early 2000’s, the topic rarely appeared in the media.

My audiences, mostly civic organizations and churches, had very little awareness about Child Protective Services (CPS) or the terrified children they cared for.

Almost no one understood the importance of home visits and manageable caseloads or that it is common for staff GALs to have 50 to 100 children to keep safe each month.

Even today, few people get distinction between paid GAL staff and CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteers.

CASA Volunteers;

  • Take fewer cases and when appropriate can spend more time with each child and on case activities.
  • Provide a pool from which to hire staff GALs when job labor markets are tight,
  • The MN GAL Board urgently needs to use its oversight powers to lower the dangerously high employee caseloads.
  • Too many children are assigned to too few GALs. A volunteer pool helps the employee GALs by lowering their caseloads.

The tortured death of 4 year old Eric Dean in 2013 prompted the first in depth reporting on parental child murder I can remember. CASAMN gave the reporter (Brandon Stahl) an award and had him speak at our annual conference.

At that time, several children in my caseload had been almost murdered by their caregivers.

A number of my caseload kids (4,5, and 6 year old children) had suffered years of unspeakable sexual abuse and other violence. Their stories never made the paper.

Today, the Safe Passage investigative report on 200 children murdered by caregivers and the current Star Tribune series on CPS failing to keep children safe is again front page news.

At this very same time, the State Guardian Ad Litem board has agreed with program management that Less is More for children stuck the institution of Child Protective Services.

This pending decision to end the program will be made sometime in January.

Allowing the State board to eliminate 10,000 future volunteers (over the next 40 years) at a time when we are finally counting the children murdered by their parents is just wrong

CASAs bring passion, experience and energy to the institution of CPS and the abused and neglected children struggling in it.

The State GAL board is making this decision under dubious reasoning and what several of us close to the issues believe to be a biased and misleading program audit.


Mike Tikkanen speaks about child abuse/trauma/healing and community

at schools, colleges, workplaces, events, etc.; To learn more:

send an email to info@invisiblechildren.org with SPEAKING in the subject line. 

Mike’s INVISIBLE CHILDREN book can be read and listened to (for free)here.

  • Sign up for KARA’s Free Friday morning E-Newsletter
  • subscribe to new chapters of AMERICA’S CHILDREN IN 100 CHARTS here.
  • Mike is A KARA founder/Executive Director and founding board member at CASAMN.

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