Two Retirements & a Promotion: Public Policy Team Evolves

Texas CASA extends our gratitude to longtime leaders Andy Homer and Cathy Cockerham, and congratulates them on their recent retirements. It is also with great pride that we announce the promotion of dedicated child welfare policy expert Sarah Crockett to Director of Public Policy.

Chief Public Policy Officer Andy Homer joined Texas CASA’s Public Policy team in 2014. Prior to that, he worked in the Texas legislature for over 20 years and was the government relations director for a state employee group. Andy brought a broad background on health and human services, state government, policy development and budget matters to Texas CASA.

Part of his role focused on increasing funding for the CASA network whenever possible. He also worked extensively around foster care and higher education, in the effort to improve outcomes for children and youth by encouraging them to complete their post-secondary education.

One of the things Andy is most proud about his time at CASA is getting the initial funding in 2015 from the legislature to start Collaborative Family Engagement, Texas CASA’s family finding and engagement approach with the Department of Family and Protective Services. He believes CASA was ahead of the curve in seeing the strengths of families and figuring out better ways to support and engage them.

Although we’re sad to see Andy go, we’re happy he’ll be able to pursue more of his passions, such as seeing live music, learning how to yodel and maybe even building his own backyard pizza oven.

“I’d like to express my gratitude to Vicki and everyone at Texas CASA for all their help and support, and also the CASA network. I am proud of the work they do and thankful for my time to get to know so many of them,” said Andy.

We will miss you, Andy! Thank you for your dedication and passion for CASA and the children and families we serve.

Liaison for Program Development Cathy Cockerham has been with Texas CASA for the last 21 years, being a pillar of our community and a lighthouse of knowledge for programs. She was captivated by CASA’s work after being a volunteer for three years, and then went on to join CASA of Travis County as the program director for 10 years before joining Texas CASA in 1999.

During her time at Texas CASA, Cathy served in a variety of roles, including program director and training director. To support CASA’s growth across the state, she helped new CASA programs form by giving them training and working with their board of directors. Over the last few years, her main focus shifted to stakeholder work with child welfare community members such as Child Protective Services leadership and judges.

Cathy says she’ll miss all the people she had the opportunity to work with and learn from, but she’s excited about getting to embrace a slower pace, spending more free time with her grandchildren, reading and gardening.

“CASA has been a wonderful learning experience because it has really broadened my horizons and my thought process,” Cathy said. “I look forward to seeing how this organization will grow in the future, and be better and better.”

Please join us in celebrating and thanking Cathy. Her work and years of commitment to the CASA community have been invaluable!

We’re thrilled to announce Sarah Crockett’s promotion to Director of Public Policy.

Sarah first got involved with CASA as a volunteer in 2011: that’s when she fell in love with the mission. She started working as the Public Policy Coordinator in 2014, then moved on to be the Senior Public Policy Associate.

Sarah brings vast experience in child welfare policy and abuse prevention work. As Director of Public Policy, she’ll lead legislative work, supervise and support the Public Policy team and the CASA network, and promote CASA’s priorities and agenda.

Sarah is looking forward to this new role, as our child welfare system continues to shift towards Community-Based Care.

“I’m excited to continue working on behalf of the network and really trying to figure out how we adapt and evolve to all the changes that are going on in the system,” said Sarah. “It’s a lot of responsibility to make sure that CASA’s role is continued and remains robust and strong, but it’s also a huge opportunity to help positively shape what the foster care system looks like in Texas.”