When reunification with a child’s family of origin is not possible, adoption offers children a stable and loving home. During National Adoption Month, the National CASA/GAL Association for Children recognizes that connections to extended family give children and youth a sense of belonging and love. We deeply appreciate grandparents, aunts, uncles, other relatives and godparents who stand in the gap and avail themselves through kinship placement and adoption, to care for children when their parents are unable to care for them.
Kinship care placement allows children and youth to maintain family relationships, cultural heritage and connections to their own community and familiar surroundings. According to the National CASA/GAL Association for Children 2020 Annual Local Program Survey Report, of the children and youth served by CASA/GAL programs in out-of-home placements, 26 percent were in relative foster placements, meaning that the child was placed with a member of their extended family. By recommending services to help stabilize placements, CASA/GAL volunteers reduce the uncertainty in children’s lives. CASA/GAL volunteers support children and youth as they grow. Their commitment, vigilance and persistence can offer hope where there may have been little before.
Every child has a story, and it is so important for a child to have a caring, consistent adult in their life. One story that comes to mind is how CASA volunteer Holly* worked diligently to support Shaun*, a teen who experienced years of residential treatment, two failed adoptive placements and multiple psychiatric hospital stays. Holly was able to find and re-engage Shaun’s maternal aunt, uncle and grandfather. She helped facilitate visits with these family members that later resulted in Shaun being adopted by his grandfather. There are many more children and youth like Shaun that can benefit from having a CASA/GAL volunteer lend their voice so they can achieve permanency.
As we embark upon this season of gratitude and thanksgiving, on behalf of our nationwide network of 950 state organizations and local programs and 93,000 CASA/GAL volunteers, thank you for your ongoing support of our critical mission to provide best interest advocacy to 242,000 children and youth.
Tara Lisa Perry CEO, National CASA/GAL Association for Children
*Names have been changed.