In addition to their advocacy for the children on their cases, our volunteers also have the opportunity to help CASA by participating in community outreach efforts! Whether they find the time to do it while working a case, or perhaps as a way to stay involved while waiting on their first case assignment (for newly sworn-in advocates), or between cases (experienced advocates), their help in engaging with the communities we serve sure is appreciated. People that are interested in hearing more about what we do or becoming an advocate, donor, or board member love to hear from our volunteers themselves. Spreading the word about CASA is just another facet of the volunteer experience that truly helps us towards our goal of providing a trained advocate for every child in care.
CASA Advocate, Laurel Jensen, helping with a local event.
CASA Advocate Bob Williams, CASA Advocate Shay Timmins, Casework Supervisor Tim Judkins, and Board President Frank Pereira appearing on a local radio show .
CASA Advocate Lane Pippin helping at a local Farmers’ Market.
7 new CASA Volunteers were sworn in over the last month!
Thank you to these wonderful community members who completed an intensive training curriculum and stepped up to advocate for children and youth who have experienced abuse and neglect.
Watch them take the oath below!
First Row: The Honorable Judge Melissa McClenahan, Scott Defoyd of Hays County and Barby Gregory of Comal County.
Second Row: Kyle Benacquisto of Hays County, Elizabeth Barger of Comal County and Cathy Dunham of Hays County.
Third Row: Lori Davis of Bexar County, Melissa Schroeder of Comal County, Layla Coleman, CASA of Central Texas – Recruitment & Training Director.
Interested in becoming an advocate? Our upcoming training dates are:
October 12 to November 16 – Wednesdays
In Person – New Braunfels CASA office
5 – 8:30 p.m.
October 13 to November 17 -Thursdays
Blended – San Marcos CASA office for 1st, 4th, and 6th sessions
1 – 4:30 p.m.
On August 15th, 2022 CASA of Central Texas hosted an ‘Autism Resources’ continuing education course at our San Marcos office location. Carly Moore, Autism Services Program Manager with Bluebonnet Trails Community Services provided our advocates and casework supervisors with an enlightening training on autism and autism advocacy.
Topics covered during the training included what autism is, autism diagnosis in boys vs. girls, Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) and how it is used for intervention, ABA services offered at Bluebonnet Trails, and Person First vs. Identity First language. Many resources were also shared in order to equip our advocates to better serve the children on their cases.
A dozen of our amazing advocates, advisory board members, and staff attended Texas CASA’s Legislative Advocacy training held at Child Advocates San Antonio. Thank you to the Texas CASA Public Policy team for providing a dynamic and superbly informative training on legislative priorities for the upcoming session.
These members of CASA of Central Texas’s Legislative Advocacy Team received a deep dive on legislative priorities, such as policies that preserve families (including prevention and early intervention services), promote family reunification when possible, and minimize the time children spend in foster care. For the 2021 fiscal year, 43% of children statewide were returned home. For the children that CASA of Central Texas served in that same time period, 45% were reunited with their parents.
Another area of focus at the training was funding and policies that support the development of more and better-equipped placements. The children we serve deserve a safe and stable placement the entire time that they are in care, as well as placements that meet their individual needs (such as trauma-informed and mental health services) and assist them in achieving their permanency goals. Funding and policies that support placement with relative caregivers will be an important area of legislative advocacy. When children are able to be placed with a relative, they are more likely to stay within their community, as well as being less likely to experience multiple placement changes.
Our advocates go through training and work hard to provide high-quality, best interest advocacy for the kids we serve. Another key piece of the puzzle is being informed and fighting for legislative policies that support and promote better outcomes for kids in care.
On Friday, July 15th 2022, CASA of Central Texas staff joined the Guadalupe County Children’s Advocacy Center (GCCAC) for their Annual “Knock Out Child Abuse” Bowlathon. We work hard to build, foster, and maintain productive partnerships with other community organizations in order to better advocate for the children we serve. This includes the Children’s Advocacy Centers that service each of our four counties.
What does a Children’s Advocacy Center Do?
Children’s Advocacy Centers (CAC) provide many different services to child victims of abuse and their families. CACs bring together the team, often including law enforcement, child protective services, medical, mental health, and legal professionals, that is working a child’s case.
Another service provided by CACs is forensic interviews. A forensic interview is conducted when a child makes an outcry of physical or sexual abuse.
What does this have to do with CASA?
CASA Casework Supervisors attend monthly Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) meetings for each of the counties we serve in order to contribute crucial knowledge we may have to the team working a specific child’s case. Often times, thanks to the hard work of our advocates and supervisors, we are able to provide important information that helps the other professionals better provide their services. In turn, we often gain important information that help us better advocate for the children on our cases.
In addition to MDT meetings, our advocates often transport and/or accompany the child or children on their case to the CAC for their forensic interview. Forensic interviews are most often conducted by a person the child has never met, so having a familiar face at the center can be a real comfort to a child. Just being there to support them on what, for many kids is a difficult day, makes a huge difference. The most important thing an advocate can do is to be there!
Learn more about CACs here.
Thank you employees of CBE Companies for their recent donation. The funds were raised through Casual for a Cause, a volunteer program where employees contribute to the fund and get to wear jeans to work in exchange! The participating employees then take part in a vote to select their top 6 area charities. We cant thank you enough for thinking of CASA of Central Texas!
Give to CASAcentex as you fuel your cars and trucks! Participating is as easy as filling up at the pump that has signage at the top showing our CASA of Central Texas name and logo. There’s no additional cost to the customer on top of the price of gas. The CASA pumps are located at all of the New Braunfels Fischer’s Neighborhood Market and Pit Stop Shell stations. If you spot one, snap a picture and share with us! Thank you Richard for supporting CASA of Central Texas!
From Fischer’s Neighborhood Market:
“We are proud to be a part of the second annual Giving Pump fundraising campaign for local charities in our community. Look for the specially marked pump at one of our locations to help make a difference in a child’s life. Funds raised this year will be donated directly to CASA of Central Texas!” Thank you Fischer’s Neighborhood Market for your support!
Show your support for CASA right in your own front yard or place of business. CASA yard signs are now available! Help us spread the word to recruit more advocates! To pick up a CASA of Central Texas yard sign, please email Eloise at: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have a sign, we would love to see it! Thank you Dezeray, current CASA Volunteer trainee, for supporting CASA!
Thank you Latinos at Amazon for keeping us hydrated. We appreciate your generosity!
Thank you Dripping Springs Community Foundation for your generous donation! This foundation serves as a resource for donors and for local non-profit organizations by encouraging and facilitating philanthropic gifts and by delivering grants, training support, and visibility to organizations that provide support to the residents of the greater Dripping Springs area. Thanks to this foundation, we are able to continue to serve children and recruit volunteers in the Dripping Springs area.
Thank you Fischer’s Neighborhood Market for your generous donation.
“We like to support children because it gives them a head start in this crazy world, gives them a chance, gives them a boost up. We think (CASA) is a great organization and it fits our value system of serving the community and serving people.” ~Rodney Fischer
Thank you Hochheim Prairie Insurance for your donation.
Hochheim Prairie Insurance is a long-time supporter of CASA of Central Texas. Carol Grimm (center) served as a CASA volunteer for more than a decade and continues to support the program by advocating for funding within her organizations. Thank you Carol and Hochheim Prairie Insurance!