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Achieving Diversity: A Beginning Guide for CASA/GAL Programs

NCJ Number
Date Published
108 pages
This manual was created to help Court Appointed Special Advocate/Guardian Ad Litem Association (CASA/GAL) organizations achieve diversity within their volunteer ranks, ensuring that every abused and neglected child requiring volunteer help is represented to the judiciary child welfare system, and the community by a CASA/GAL volunteer in a manner that is sensitive to the child's frame of reference, including heritage, culture, ethnicity, religion, and family structure.
This publication describes a diversification implementation plan that was devised by the National CASA Association in 1992, identifying its goals and the timeline for their achievement. Basic assumptions that shape perspectives on child raising and how they vary within cultures are discussed. A description of how CASA/GAL volunteers can be chosen for their experience within different cultures, and be further trained to work with differences while advocating for children in the juvenile justice system is given. Chapters on creating an understanding of the need for a cultural perspective on child rearing when advocating for a child; becoming culturally competent as a program by awareness and acceptance of differences, knowledge of a client's culture, and understanding barriers to communication; recruiting minority staff and board members by word of mouth and incorporating them into the program; strategies for recruiting volunteers; and incorporating cultural sensitivity into publications to reflect the community that is being served, are the major topics covered here. And epilogue, a glossary of terms, a list of sources cited, and an appendix which includes self-assessment exercises, a list of national minority organizations, and a comprehensive annotated bibliography of resources concludes this manual.