2014 marked the beginning of an important, transformative journey for National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association, as we developed and launched a new roadmap for our future. We introduced to our member programs and partners a strategic framework intended to govern our future planning. It will direct and focus our activities on new and innovative strategies to more effectively accomplish the mission and vision of the CASA/guardian ad litem (GAL) network.
Across our nation, more than 251,000 abused or neglected children have a caring CASA volunteer or GAL, but hundreds of thousands more are still waiting. We recognize that we must grow the number of volunteers, and develop innovative solutions, to achieve our goal of providing an advocate for every abused or neglected child in need. Our framework emphasizes focus on providing support to local member programs; building strong partnerships with member state organizations; improving our data collection, research, and analysis; developing a stronger platform for financial stability; and achieving new heights in governance effectiveness.
Our first step was to commence a State Organization Development Initiative, which was formally activated at the 2014 Annual National CASA/GAL Conference in Grapevine, Texas. National CASA established a State Steering Committee to plan, guide, and provide support on strategic issues, as well as assist in the change management planning and process.
Additionally, we began the first phase of organizational restructuring to provide increased support to member programs, designing a structure that increased or reallocated resources to critical focus areas, such as resource development, training, planning, and research. In alignment with the strategic framework, the National CASA Board of Trustees also embarked on its own change initiative during this time, turning their efforts toward identifying, planning for, and executing a new governance model.
We have undertaken these efforts and will continue to do so because we firmly believe that our work will ultimately lead to safety, permanency and the opportunity to thrive for every abused and every neglected child. As you read through this annual report, know that you—our dedicated state and local program staff, committed volunteers, stakeholders, generous partners, and donors—played a critical role in everything that we have been able to accomplish.
Thank you all for being a part of a tremendously exciting and busy year for National CASA. Our work has only just begun, and our partnership with you will be even more important as we strive to serve every child.
Chief Executive Officer