Back in 2021, Texas CASA began developing the CASA Anti-Child Trafficking framework known as CASA ACT in order to provide resources, training and coordination of services. Youth who have been affected by trafficking in foster care need CASA volunteers who are well-trained, connected and prepared to support their specialized needs. CASA ACT is a call to action for the CASA network in Texas. The aim is to do more than “see something, say something,” and to educate, protect and provide skilled support when youth have been exploited. With identification and consistent supportive intervention, the victims of child sex trafficking can begin to heal.
We are excited to share the recent works of the CASA ACT Team including Texas CASA’s survivor leader and trafficking consultant, Rhonda Kuykendall, and Advocacy Initiatives Director, Candice Dosman. Last week, these two inspiring leaders launched the CASA ACT Program Guide in digital and print format for use by the CASA network. The strategies and recommendations provided in this program guide can be used by local CASA programs that wish to be active partners in the anti-child trafficking and exploitation movement within their own communities. There are many agencies involved in this work locally, regionally and at the statewide level. The information provided in the volunteer guidebook “Advocacy for Youth Affected by Sex Trafficking: A Guide for CASA Volunteers and Staff” and the CASA ACT Program Guide provides a clear explanation of roles and expectations so that CASA programs can contribute meaningfully within their lane of advocacy.
Over 110 individuals registered to attend the ACT Program Guide Webinar where the Texas CASA ACT Team provided insights into these newly launched resources and how the CASA programs can get started and/or move forward in this area. CASA staff, volunteers and community partners came together to learn more about this important anti child-trafficking framework and how they can help implement survivor-centered advocacy. Texas CASA is thankful for all who joined us and we are excited to see how the CASA network continues to grow in the anti-child trafficking space.
*Breaking News* Texas CASA is honored to announce that on 9/26/2023 we were awarded a $48,000 grant from the Texas Office of the Governor – Criminal Justice Division (CJD) to strengthen the CASA ACT framework. The award will be used to:
- -Support Rhonda’s contract who will support resource development to inform advocacy specific for survivors of child trafficking; and will support local programs to be engaged in anti-child trafficking work and efforts in their communities
- -To further develop CASA ACT materials to inform advocacy specific for survivors of child trafficking
- -To create online training videos and/or other resources for survivor-centered advocacy tailored to survivors of child trafficking
Texas CASA is deeply thankful for the Texas Office of the Governor – Criminal Justice Division (CJD) and their noteworthy support of the CASA Anti-Child Trafficking framework. We are thrilled to have this opportunity to advance and strengthen this important work.