A Year in Review with Texas CASA Staff

We asked our amazing staff: What are you most proud of accomplishing with Texas CASA in 2022?

Vicki Spriggs, CEO

I’m grateful for the wonderful work of our staff and the dedication of the CASA community and our supporters. I’m proud of everything we’ve accomplished this year, including hosting our first in-person Annual Conference in two years, “Learning From Lived Experiences,” which fully incorporated the voices of young people with lived experience in the system.

Amanda Arriaga, General Counsel & Chief Public Policy Officer

I’m proud of our Public Policy team for touring the state and training the CASA community on our legislative priorities in preparation for the upcoming legislative session. I am excited and inspired by the passion I’m seeing at CASA programs for improving the system and creating a brighter Texas for all!

Deedra Baker, Chief Network Services Officer

I am proud of our partnerships with the local CASA programs this past year, including with Child Advocates of Fort Bend on how to best advocate for children age 0 to 5, with CASA of Travis County on a Safety Toolkit, and with Dallas CASA on advocating for youth who have been trafficked or are at risk. We’ve also been working with 13 local CASA programs to advance our Clergy, CASA and Community faith-based recruitment initiative, and with 12 local CASA programs to revise our statewide CASA Logic Model. Our partnerships make our advocacy for children and families stronger!

Tamea Byrd, Chief Financial Officer

I am really happy with the incentive funding we are now awarding local CASA programs for serving children in Permanent Managing Conservatorship (PMC), or long-term foster care. This new funding will help CASA programs stay on PMC cases and continue advocating for and supporting children long term. I think it will make a big difference to a lot of kids!

Sarah Crockett, Public Policy Director

I’m proud that I helped complete and roll out the first-ever Guide to Normalcy in Texas!

Candice Dosman, Advocacy Initiatives Director

This year, every local CASA program in Texas has committed to family engagement and connection-informed advocacy. It is pretty incredible to think that in 2015, this work was happening in only four local CASA programs, and now it is network wide! I’m also very proud of the team of CFE Coaches who have continued to be flexible and adaptable on taking on more programs to support.

Margaret Halpin, Instructional Designer & Facilitation Coach

Our advocacy podcast CASA on the Go reached almost 20,000 downloads this year! In 2022, we focused on highlighting the wisdom of people who have experienced the challenges of our child welfare system firsthand. While on paper these downloads are just a number, to me they represent thousands of tiny sparks scattered across our state—20,000 little lights lit by those with deep personal and professional expertise, helping to illuminate our path as we continually work towards more effective, collaborative, and courageous advocacy for children and families.

Catherine Herlich, Collaborative Family Engagement Coach

I’m most proud of leading the CFE App project to completion and rollout!

Emma Ledford, Communications Specialist

I’m proud of Hear My Voice, our new series of first-person testimonies from people with lived experience in the foster care system, created from in-depth interviews. I’m especially proud of Leon’s story, which I took the lead on!

Benita Pekkattil, Community Engagement Specialist

As a Texas CASA staff member, I am REALLY proud of learning the grant application process and acquiring three grants totaling in 40K for Texas CASA projects.

Audrey Sherman, Collaborative Family Engagement Coach

The CFE Team is proud to have launched our second deck of cards, Connect: Deck 2. The cards are designed to help adults, children and youth connect and learn about one another, with a family engagement focus. Both Decks 1 and 2 of the Connect cards have been incredibly popular, and DFPS is currently in the process of ordering 1,000 decks of the cards themselves due to demand!

Kristy Smith, Senior Grants Management Specialist

I am proud to announce my accomplishment of becoming a CASA volunteer as of Nov. 1, 2022, and I have already accepted my first case.

Thank you for your support of Texas CASA and the CASA community! We couldn’t do the work we do without you. See you in the New Year!