To this observer, recent events within Minnesota’s CASA Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) community volunteer program bode well for at-risk children and the Child Protection System in our community.

Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz has joined the MN GAL State Board and member Ann Ahlstrom has stepped up to become the new Board Chair just as former Board Chair Crysta Parkin has stepped down.

At the same time, 4th District Manager, Victor Walker, has left his position. The 4th District covers Hennepin County.

Laura Miles has stepped in as interim manager while the search is on for a new strong leader over both the employee and volunteer GALs in the 4th District. With all of these recent changes, we are hopeful and optimistic that the CASA Volunteer Program can be built back to its robust former position in Child Protective Services.   

The CASA community volunteer program has dwindled from over 300 to 22 volunteers over the last two and a half years. Not too many years before that, it stood at over 400.

MN GAL CIO, Alex Miller, has identified and recommended new cyber security measures that have been well received by the board and will address the security concern of a system which utilizing both volunteers and employees.

CASA Minnesota President Gerard Bodell has stated that there are 200+ volunteers waiting to become CASA GALs, many of them from the BIPOC community. Some have waited for two and a half years to join the team of passionate volunteers working to make the lives of abused and neglected children better.

If you know someone that would like to learn about volunteering as a child advocate in the Guardian ad Litem program, please share this article with them.

Link to learning about the CASA GAL program



In full disclosure, the author

Mike Tikkanen

is a former CASA volunteer

and CASAMN Board Member