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Examining a Child
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Research and Effectiveness

Results from CASA/GAL studies selected based on their high methodological quality

Research that Supports the Effectiveness of CASA/GAL Best Interest Advocacy

The National CASA/GAL Association for Children is committed to using fact-based knowledge, building toward becoming a data-informed, evidence-based organization. This will allow the CASA/GAL network to continue to grow its efforts to ensure children and families served have the greatest opportunity to thrive.

Many independent academic studies have been conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of best-interest advocacy and the CASA/GAL network. Below is a summary of results from CASA/GAL studies selected based on their high methodological quality:

 

                             A child with a CASA/GAL volunteer has significantly fewer placements than a child without a CASA/GAL volunteer.

  • Calkins, C.; Millar, M. The Effectiveness of Court Appointed Special Advocates to Assist in Permanency Planning. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal. 1999.

  • Gershun, Martha, and Claire Terrebonne. Child welfare system interventions on behalf of children and families: Highlighting the role of court appointed special advocates. Current problems in pediatric and adolescent health care. Volume 9. 2018.

  • Leung, P. Is the Court-Appointed Special Advocate Program Effective? A Longitudinal Analysis of Time Involvement and Case Outcomes. Child Welfare League of America. 1996.

CASA/GAL volunteers are highly effective in getting their recommendations accepted in court. In four out of five cases, all or almost all CASA/GAL volunteer recommendations are accepted.

  • Caliber Associates, National CASA Association Evaluation Project, Caliber Associates; Fairfax, Virginia. 2004.

  • Gershun, Martha, and Claire Terrebonne. Child welfare system interventions on behalf of children and families: Highlighting the role of court appointed special advocates. Current problems in pediatric and adolescent health care, Volume 9. 2018.

Over 93% of judges report a very positive overall experience with the CASA/GAL program.

  • Weiner, D., Farrell, A., Gitlow, E., Small, L., Kim, K., Anderson, C., & Goerge, R. The Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Program: Judicial Perspectives Survey and the Path to Evidence. Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago: Chicago, IL. 2020.

Reaching Permanent Homes

A child with a CASA/GAL volunteer is:Less likely to reenter the child welfare system. The proportion of reentries is consistently reduced by half.

  • Office of the Inspector General Report, US Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General. Audit Report Results for CASA Advocacy. Washington, DC. January, 2007.

  • Poertner, J., & Press, A. Who best represents the interests of the child in court? Child Welfare: Journal of Policy, Practice, and Program. 1990.

  • Abramson, Shareen. Use of court-appointed advocates to assist in permanency planning for minority children. Child Welfare: Journal of Policy, Practice, and Program.1991.

  • Calkins, C.; Millar, M. The Effectiveness of Court Appointed Special Advocates to Assist in Permanency Planning. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal. 1999.

  • Gershun, Martha, and Claire Terrebonne. Child welfare system interventions on behalf of children and families: Highlighting the role of court appointed special advocates. Current problems in pediatric and adolescent health care, Volume 9. 2018.

 

More likely to achieve permanency.

  • Calkins, C.; Millar, M. The Effectiveness of Court Appointed Special Advocates to Assist in Permanency Planning. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal. 1999.

  • Gershun, Martha, and Claire Terrebonne. Child welfare system interventions on behalf of children and families: Highlighting the role of court appointed special advocates. Current problems in pediatric and adolescent health care, Volume 9. 2018.

As likely to be reunified with their birth parent as a child without a CASA/GAL volunteer.

  • Abramson, Shareen. Use of court-appointed advocates to assist in permanency planning for minority children. Child Welfare: Journal of Policy, Practice, and Program. 1991.

More likely to be adopted.

  • Poertner, J., & Press, A. Who best represents the interests of the child in court? Child Welfare: Journal of Policy, Practice, and Program. 1990.

  • Abramson, Shareen. Use of court-appointed advocates to assist in permanency planning for minority children. Child Welfare: Journal of Policy, Practice, and Program. 1991.

Enabling Well-Being Over Time

 When a CASA/GAL volunteer is assigned, a higher number of services are ordered for children and families.

  • Caliber Associates, National CASA Association Evaluation Project, Caliber Associates; Fairfax, Virginia. 2004.

  • Office of the Inspector General Report, US Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General. Audit Report Results for CASA Advocacy. Washington, DC. January, 2007.

  • Poertner, J., & Press, A. Who best represents the interests of the child in court? Child Welfare: Journal of Policy, Practice, and Program. 1990.

  • Litzelfelner, P. The Effectiveness of CASAs in Achieving Positive Outcomes for Children. Child Welfare League of America. 2000.

  • Gershun, Martha, and Claire Terrebonne. Child welfare system interventions on behalf of children and families: Highlighting the role of court appointed special advocates. Current problems in pediatric and adolescent health care, Volume 9. 2018.

  • Peters, C.; Claussen Bell, K.; Zinn, A.; George, R.; Courtney, M. Continuing in Foster Care Beyond Age 18: How Courts Can Help. Chicago: Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago. 2008.

 

A child with a CASA/GAL volunteer is more likely to have better outcomes: children tended to perform better academically and behaviorally in school as measured by whether or not they passed all of their courses, whether or not they were expelled, and their conduct performance.

Children and youth assigned a CASA/GAL volunteer reported significantly higher levels of hope. A child’s hope has been linked to numerous positive outcomes such as academic success, overall wellbeing, increases in self-control, positive social relationships and optimism.

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