CASA MN has been monitoring an important decision impacting the future of Minnesota’s Guardian ad Litem volunteer program as we believe that volunteer Guardians play a critical role in the child welfare system. Yesterday, the Minnesota State Guardian ad Litem (GAL) Board discussed a proposal to terminate the volunteer program entirely as volunteer numbers have fallen over the last few years as the state paused recruitment and training. 

However, after a tie vote, the proposal did not pass and the volunteer GAL program will not be terminated at this time. While no direction has been given to resume recruiting and training new volunteers yet, we are grateful to the Board for directing the program to gather more information from other states with successful volunteer programs and believe this is an important step toward sustaining and evolving the program.Ahead of the board vote, last week, the Star Tribune’s Jessie Van Berkel wrote an important piece on the state of the Court-Appointed Special Advocate system in Minnesota. 

Amidst the ongoing discussion on the future of the volunteer program, we were grateful to see so many voices speak up in strong support of volunteer GALs. “We need more Guardians, not fewer. Whenever we make a change like this, even with the best of intentions, there’s a possibility it could have unintended consequences – and if it does, vulnerable children and families will pay. That is unacceptable.”

– Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Anne McKeig CASA MN is committed to protecting the future of the volunteer GAL program as we know that our children need and deserve more resources, not less. The power of volunteer GALs is well documented: Children with volunteer GALs have fewer placements, have more services ordered on their behalf, and report significantly higher levels of hope.

We are advocating for legislation at the state level that would secure the volunteer GAL program for the long term and more clearly define the commitment the state makes to supporting volunteers.

To join us in advocating for volunteers, you can:

 

  • Email Jessie Van Berkel at the Star Tribune and let her know you want to see more coverage about the future of volunteer GALs 
  • Watch for communications from CASA MN this spring about more ways to get involved

 

We are grateful for the many volunteers who serve as Guardians ad Litem. With your support and continued partnership, we can make sure that more kids across Minnesota have access to volunteers advocating for their best interests.

CASA Minnesota
PO BOX 454
Minneapolis, MN 55343

Send us an email

info@casamn.org

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Minnesota is a member of the National Court Appointed Special Advocates Association (National CASA). A grant from National CASA supports this website and our efforts to encourage communication, development, and effective advocacy for CASA volunteers and Guardians ad Litem statewide.

Follow us on: