A back-to-school message
The months of August and September brings to mind many typical back-to-school preparations – stores displaying school supplies, teachers readying their classrooms, and children preparing to meet their teachers. This year is anything but typical, and returning to school this fall may bring added stress due to the COVID-19 pandemic and anxiety about returning to school, whether in-person or virtually. This situation is certainly difficult for all families, but for children and families in the child welfare system and those who are already under-resourced, going back to school this fall creates new challenges.
CASA and GAL volunteers provide a source of support and stability for more than 271,000 children nationwide as they advocate for the best interests of the child, including the child’s educational needs. By building relationships with everyone who has a hand in the child’s education—parents, foster parents, teachers, social workers, school counselors and others—our volunteers provide critical insights that can have a direct impact on a child’s educational success. Children in foster care often face additional educational challenges and are more likely to fall behind in school. However, CASA/GAL volunteers advocating in the courtroom improve school outcomes by recommending resources, tools and services to keep the child on track. The volunteer advocates for stability and provides focused attention on the child’s needs, in the classroom and beyond.
Through their persistence and dedication, CASA/GAL volunteers listen, solve problems and eliminate obstacles. These actions are especially crucial this year, when children and families are faced with additional unforeseen circumstances brought on by the pandemic. By advocating for solutions that address issues with virtual learning, transportation to and from school or services through individualized education plans, CASA and GAL volunteers ensure that the children they work with have access to the resources they need to learn effectively.
Every child deserves a quality education and the opportunity to learn and grow as a student. As children across the country begin a new academic year in this time of continued uncertainty, I am grateful for your commitment to our shared vision that every child is given the opportunity to thrive. Thank you for your support of our work advocating for our nation’s children.
CEO, National CASA/GAL Association for Children