Texas CASA’s Guiding Principles

Starting in 2019, Texas CASA’s staff undertook a year-long learning process about equity, privilege and oppression within society and its systems. We have since been implementing new equity practices into our operations and frequent equity conversations into our culture.

In 2020, we developed Texas CASA’s Guiding Principles. These principles, agreed-upon by our full staff and approved by our Board of Directors, put commitments and priorities into writing that we have been working towards for years. These principles are actively informing and guiding our internal culture, as well as our statewide advocacy and leadership. 

Texas CASA commits to prioritizing keeping families together whenever safely possible, with a focus on child and family well-being and stability.

Texas CASA recognizes that every child has a right to be raised by their family of origin in an environment where they are, and feel, physically and emotionally safe. Texas CASA believes effective advocacy includes meaningful engagement with a child’s parents, family and others important to them.

Texas CASA recognizes that belonging in positive, trusting communities supports resiliency and healing from trauma. Texas CASA believes that children and youth have the right to be connected to their communities of origin and their communities of choice.

Texas CASA is committed to supporting programs in advocacy for children and families of all cultures, abilities, identities and backgrounds.

Texas CASA recognizes that each family’s traditions and familial norms deserve to be honored and respected. Texas CASA believes that supporting children and families includes proactively understanding their unique cultural identities, practices and everyday activities.

Texas CASA recognizes that disparities exist in all aspects of society including the child welfare system. Texas CASA believes in promoting greater equity and cultural competency, and addressing the root causes of these disparities through education, training, resources and policy work.

Texas CASA recognizes that biases exist within ourselves. Texas CASA believes that race, ethnicity and language are valuable aspects of identity and should be honored and celebrated.

Texas CASA recognizes that being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer (LGBTQ) is an intrinsic, valuable and proud part of identity and culture. Texas CASA believes that LGBTQ children and families must be respected and honored, and deserve full equality and protections.

Texas CASA recognizes that quality advocacy includes both empowerment and protection of all children, inclusive of gender, gender identity and gender expression. Texas CASA believes advocacy should be free of sexism, heterosexism and transphobia.

Texas CASA recognizes that children and youth have a right to explore spiritual and religious paths of their choosing. Texas CASA believes having these options is conducive to health, happiness and healing.

Texas CASA recognizes that people with disabilities whether seen or unseen; people with physical, mental, mobility, sensory or developmental impairments; and people who are chronically ill face significant barriers to equal treatment in the child welfare system. Texas CASA believes youth and families with disabilities deserve quality advocacy, and will address ableism and institutional barriers wherever possible.

Texas CASA commits to destigmatizing issues faced by families within the child welfare system.

Texas CASA recognizes the significant trauma that children experience when they are in an environment where intimate partner violence is occurring. We also recognize the extreme danger that survivors of intimate partner violence encounter, especially as they weigh the risks of leaving an abusive relationship. Texas CASA believes in providing education around these issues, and promoting partnership with parents who are survivors of intimate partner violence to keep their children safely in their care whenever possible.

Texas CASA recognizes that substance use disorder is a disease. Texas CASA believes in compassionately standing by families that are working towards long-term recovery from substance use disorder.

Texas CASA recognizes that mental health is an equal partner to physical health, and that mental illnesses are treatable. Texas CASA believes that children and families deserve access to high quality advocacy, healthcare and treatment.

Texas CASA recognizes the historical and systemic causes of wealth disparity in our communities. Texas CASA believes in not equating poverty with a failure of character or parenting skill.