The National Court Appointed Special Advocate/Guardian ad Litem Association for Children recently awarded CASA of Oklahoma County, Inc. a $30,000 Core Model Grant.
Funds will be used to recruit, train and assign new volunteers to represent the best interests of children who have experienced abuse or neglect. Work done under the mentoring grant will target key populations such as American Indian/Alaska Native, rural and opioid-impacted youth. “This kind of support from National CASA/GAL is huge and will help us recruit more CASA volunteers so we can provide advocacy to additional foster children,” said Kim Vanbebber, executive director of CASA of Oklahoma County. “We are forever grateful for this support, especially during a time when abused and neglected children are at even more risk.”
Nearly 950 CASA/GAL programs exist nationwide, including 49 state offices, supporting volunteers who work on behalf of children in the child welfare system. Their advocacy enables judges to make the most well-informed decisions for each child.
The mentoring grant will enable CASA of Oklahoma County, Inc. to focus on advocating for the needs of at-risk and underserved youth. Volunteers will also mentor youth, helping them increase their level of connectivity with community and family, improve educational outcomes, and reach stable placements.
The federal grant funds distributed through National CASA/GAL are provided by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, US Department of Justice, as authorized under the Victims of Child Abuse Act of 1990. In 2019, National CASA/GAL was awarded nearly $7 million in federal grants.