Baltimore – January 6, 2020 – CASA of Baltimore, Inc. has been awarded a $13,835 Recruitment and Awareness grant from the National Court Appointed Special Advocate/Guardian ad Litem (CASA/GAL) Association for Children. Funds will be used to tailor a national public awareness campaign about child abuse and neglect for local markets, and to distribute the campaign.
There are nearly 950 CASA/GAL programs nationwide, including 45 state offices, that recruit, train and support volunteers who advocate in court for the best interests of children who have experienced abuse or neglect. Their advocacy enables judges to make the most well-informed decisions for each child.
National CASA/GAL has developed a broad-based national campaign, “Change a Child’s StoryTM.” It is distinguished from other campaigns in that its messaging is told from the point of view of children who have experienced abuse or neglect. The campaign shows the importance to these children of having a volunteer by their side to advocate for their best interests.
In Baltimore, the campaign will run on social media and CASA’s website, and CASA staff will host monthly information sessions, distributing palm cards, brochures, bookmarks, etc., in each district of the city.
“African American children contribute to eighty-one percent of CASA of Baltimore’s caseload, with only fifty-five percent of African American volunteers available to advocate. The recruitment and awareness project will increase the number of African American individuals, and volunteers overall, willing to serve the abused and neglected children in their own communities.” Ciara Huff, Executive Director of CASA of Baltimore.
The “Change a Child’s Story" campaign was developed with R&R Partners, a cause-driven marketing and advocacy agency that has worked on prominent social issues campaigns. R&R Partners conducted focus groups across the country to ensure the campaign would resonate with target audiences while being sensitive to the perceptions of those with experience growing up in foster care.
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 was awarded nearly $10.7 million in federal grants.