2019 Texas CASA Conference Celebrates 30 Years of CASA

More than 600 members of the CASA community joined us in Galveston on Oct. 24-26 for the 2019 Texas CASA Conference: 30 Year Jubilee, a three-day, learning-packed celebration of CASA!

Conference attendees from all across Texas, and even a few from out of state, joined us at the Galveston Island Convention Center. Nearly half of the attendees were CASA volunteers eager to take their advocacy to the next level. The rest included CASA program staff and board members, Texas CASA board members, sponsors, expert presenters and child welfare partners – exemplifying the diverse group of people who make up the CASA community.

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The theme for this year centered on Texas CASA’s 30th Anniversary and celebrating our accomplishments while still looking forward to what’s next for the network. We only turn 30 once, and we made sure to make the most of the celebration. Throughout the conference, attendees had the opportunity to explore the Jubilee Marketplace, a space with a variety of vendors and games. CASA volunteer advocates were also treated to their own suite where they could pick up their volunteer gift and reflect on their favorite moments as a volunteer. Founding CEO Jane Quentan Piper and current CEO Vicki Spriggs were both at the suite to thank volunteers for helping make a difference in children’s lives.

We also offered our first Texas CASA Conference app! Available for iOS and Android, the app had all the important information attendees needed to make the most of their conference experience, including schedules, maps, social networking opportunities, discussion questions and more.

In addition to celebrating 30 Years of Strengthening the Voices of CASA Statewide, the goal of this year’s conference was to facilitate learning and networking for the CASA network. Conference sessions focused on four main subject areas: trauma, well-being, Collaborative Family Engagement (CFE), and diversity and inclusion. By focusing on these four topics, attendees of all roles and responsibilities were able to learn best practices and the latest research on core concepts related to quality advocacy.

Thursday started with four in-depth, 3-hour sessions, as well as networking opportunities for program executive directors, program directors and case supervisors. That evening, we took over Postoffice Street in Downtown Galveston for our Sip and Stroll thanks to the Galveston Island Convention and Visitors Bureau who hosted us and coordinated the event Attendees enjoyed shopping discounts, live music and complimentary drink samples from local boutiques.

Friday was a fun and learning-packed day, starting with the opening general session featuring the State of the State by Texas CASA CEO Vicki Spriggs and an inspiring keynote address by Josh Shipp. Spriggs reflected on Texas CASA’s growth and impact over the past 30 years and her vision for the future. Following the State of the State, Shipp’s keynote helped set the stage for the rest of the conference – reminding us all that every child is a caring adult away from being a success story. The day continued with concurrent sessions featuring nationally and internationally recognized speakers and industry leaders shaping the child welfare system and advocacy for children and youth. After a long day of learning, we sported our finest ‘20s and ‘30s inspired attire for the Texas CASA 30th Anniversary Gala: Spectacular, Spectacular. In addition to dinner, drinks and dessert, attendees enjoyed a jaw-dropping circus performance and an extra-special surprise song-and-dance by Texas CASA staff!

The conference wrapped up on Saturday with a powerful closing general session featuring mindfulness expert Carin Winter and closing keynote Bryan Samuels. With the approaching implementation of the Federal Family Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) in Texas, Samuels spoke on opportunities for the CASA network and greater child welfare community to leverage the provisions in the FFPSA to promote positive systemic change for children and their families. Thank you to the more than 600 members of the CASA community who joined us to celebrate our 30th Anniversary! Each of you has been essential to CASA’s success so far, and we look forward to another 30 years of celebrating, learning and growing with you. We hope to see all of you next year in Denton from Oct. 28-30 for the 2020 Texas CASA Conference: Words Build Worlds!

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Thank you to our 2019 sponsors!

Jane Quentan Piper