The majority of CASA programs in Texas serve multiple counties. In fact, as of November 2020, 47 of the 72 programs have a service area of three or more counties. This poses opportunities and challenges for CASA programs as they strive to establish a presence in all communities, recruit and retain volunteers from all counties served, and serve the children who are in CPS custody within their entire service area.
A workgroup of CASA programs met remotely in Summer 2020 to discuss their barriers and solutions for volunteer recruitment, training and management in outer counties. As a result, we are sharing with you resources in these areas that we hope will prove beneficial to your program.
Texas CASA offers two tools to help you best recruit in a rural, multi-county area. One tool for rural recruitment is community mapping. We’re offering community mapping instructions and a template for insights on who to recruit, why to recruit and how to recruit in different communities.
We’ve also provided a sample recruitment plan to turn your insights into action by outlining your strategy, action steps, responsibility, resources, evaluation and outcome.
Our tips and tricks for engaging your different communities through social media highlight types of content, engagement, connection and strategy that can also be added to the recruitment plan.
One of the biggest challenges in multi-county service can be how to best offer volunteer training without stretching volunteers or staff too thin. Best practices for pre-service training across multiple counties explore the different curricula that may best fit your program’s needs as well as tips on making training as accessible as possible.
Please remember that Texas CASA has four pre-service e-learning modules available online. These are highly interactive, engaging training modules that deliver training content in ways easy for the learner to comprehend and retain!
If your program has a satellite office or staff that work remotely in outer counties, we have tips and tricks to maintain cohesion with a remote team that include ways to navigate change, communication and morale. These practices draw from a collective wisdom of successful practices in CASA programs. We encourage you to add to the list with innovative ideas in your program.
With recruitment, training and remote support in mind, we know you are seeking to grow in number of volunteers and children served! Here’s a worksheet to get you started on your strategic planning in this area.
This worksheet is based on the DFPS Data Book which provides a cumulative total of children in DFPS care for the year by county. According to the growth projection for your counties, you can then begin to calculate number of volunteers and staff needed to serve the number of children you are targeting. The best thing about this worksheet is that you can take it and play with these figures and percentages to change or adjust your goals, and give your board an excellent tool for planning your program’s growth. The instructions for filling in each section follow each header.
A dream written down with a date becomes a goal; a goal broken down into steps becomes a plan; a plan backed by actions becomes a reality!
Please let us know if Texas CASA can support your program in any way as you work towards your goal to serve all children in your counties who need a CASA volunteer. Thank you for all that you do to serve children and families in each of your counties!