Bringing Our Best Selves to the Work We Do

By Vicki Spriggs, Texas CASA CEO

Dear CASA Community,

The work we do advocating for children and families in the system is as important as ever during this tumultuous time—but we can’t be here to fight the battle for them tomorrow if we burn ourselves out today. So I’m speaking as much to myself as I am to you when I say that right now, we all need to be especially mindful of taking care of ourselves.

So much is happening around us that’s beyond our control. Too many young people in the Texas foster care system are still languishing in dangerous, unlicensed placements like hotels and offices, supervised by only their caseworkers. The decade-long federal lawsuit against CPS also continues, with the most recent hearing shining a spotlight on the current capacity crisis and a myriad of other harms to children in our state’s care.

At the same time as we apprehend the child welfare system in crisis, we continue to cope with the grief, stress and emotional toll of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are truly living through an unforgettable time. Each and every one of you is an important, vital and precious part of our world, and deserves great care.

For me, lately, taking care of myself has meant making time for regular exercise and getting outside. Often these days, my workday consists of back-to-back virtual meetings about the exact, weighty troubles I’m talking about in this letter. Taking breaks when I can for a walk during the workday to clear my mind, resting my eyes from staring at a screen, standing up and stretching…all of these actions, big and small, have helped me.

Self care, and fighting burnout, looks different for everyone. Whether it’s having a healthy meal, making time for therapy, splurging on dessert, going for a jog, moving bedtime a little earlier, re-downloading that meditation app, or opening up to a friend, you know best what approaches work best for you. If you’re looking to change up your self care routine or need new ideas, try taking an assessment.

So I encourage you to check in with yourself. Ask yourself things like: How have I been feeling lately, physically, emotionally, mentally? Who can I go to for support right now, or even just to vent? What, and who, never fails to make me happy?

Now let’s all take good care of ourselves today so that we can come back tomorrow, stronger and more hopeful, ready to serve the children and families who need and deserve us at our best.

Wishing you good health,