AUSTIN, Texas – A sea of blue filled the House and Senate Galleries as Texas Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), with the help of Sen. Jane Nelson and Rep. Four Price, declared Feb. 5, 2019, CASA Day at the State Capitol as part of the nonprofit’s 30th Anniversary.
CASA Day at the Capitol, sponsored by CenterPoint Energy, is the one day each legislative session that the CASA community assembles to bring attention to improving outcomes for children and youth in the foster care system. Texas CASA brought together more than 200 members of the CASA network from across the state to meet with lawmakers about Texas CASA’s legislative priorities and funding.
“Today is our opportunity to meet with legislators to share the CASA story and show them how Texas CASA’s recommended policies will go a long way to help improve the state’s child protection system and to ensure the well-being of vulnerable children and youth,” said Vicki Spriggs, Texas CASA CEO.
In addition to more than 120 meetings with legislators and their offices, the day included both Senate and House Resolutions by Sen. Nelson and Rep. Price celebrating the CASA network’s contributions and Texas CASA’s 30-year legacy.
“…[T]he House of Representatives of the 86th Texas Legislature hereby recognize[s] Feb. 5, 2019, as CASA Day at the State Capitol and commend the organization for its exemplary work,” read Rep. Price during the House Resolution.
Since Texas CASA’s founding in 1989, the CASA network in Texas has grown from 13 CASA programs serving 33 counties to 72 programs serving 217 counties. With 10,856 volunteers in 2018, CASA programs served 30,126 children and youth in the foster care system statewide.
“I could not be more proud of where Texas CASA is today,” said Jane Quentan Piper, Founder of Texas CASA. “I started this organization at a friend’s kitchen table, and today, the network is making a difference in the lives of more than 30,000 children.”
Texas CASA has a longstanding partnership with the State Legislature. Quentan Piper herself advocated at the legislature to receive Texas CASA’s first state funding in 1991. Today, CASA receives more than $13 million in state funding which goes to local CASA programs for recruitment, training and volunteer support.
CASA volunteers are specifically trained to advocate for children in foster care. They get to know the child and speak to everyone involved in the child’s life, including their family members, teachers, doctors, lawyers, social workers and others. The information they gather and their recommendations help the court overseeing the cases make informed decisions.
“Our children in care have had so many things – so many opportunities – taken from them due to no fault of their own,” said Spriggs. “But a dedicated, well-trained CASA volunteer has the opportunity to step in, speak up and make a real difference for them during this critical turning point in their lives.”
For more information about Texas CASA and the CASA network, visit www.BecomeACASA.org.
Texas CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates)
Leslie Morton, Training & Communications Director