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Texas-CASA-Forum-Banner-webTuesday, February 23, 2016 | Hilton Austin Downtown | 500 E. 4th st. austin, tX 78701

Thank you to the more than 300 dedicated CASA supporters who attended the Texas CASA Annual Forum! The Annual Forum was a two-part event designed to educate those in the child welfare community on important issues and to recognize state leaders who have championed efforts to improve the lives of children in the child protection system.

Child Welfare Policy Primer

See photos and learn more about the primer!

Champion Recognition Luncheon

See photos and learn more about the Luncheon!

This year’s Child Welfare Policy Primer consisted of two educational panels covering:

Trauma-Informed Care

Collaborative Family Engagement™

Texas CASA was honored to recognize

The Honorable Greg Abbott,
Governor of Texas &
Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott

 for their dedication to protecting our most vulnerable children and youth.

Champion Recognition Luncheon

At the Champion Recognition Luncheon, we had the honor of recognizing two longtime champions for children – Texas Governor Greg Abbott and First Lady Cecilia Abbott. Their combined efforts have been instrumental in advancing the CASA network and bringing about positive change in Texas.

Governor Abbott and First Lady Cecilia Abbott continue to offer support on behalf of the State of Texas, allowing Texas CASA to put our best foot forward in achieving our vision of a safe and positive future for all Texas children. Together, with generous supporters like you, we can build a stronger Texas for children in care and the generations to come.

Child Welfare Policy Primer

Strategic Collaboration: Using Trauma-Informed Care to Bring Healing to Children

Hon. Aurora Martinez Jones, Associate Court Judge; Randy Spencer, LCSW, Vice President of Organizational Impact, Presbyterian Children’s Homes & Services; Katy Bourgeois, Senior Consultant, Mission Capital; and Sarah Christofferson, Chief Program Officer, CASA of Travis County
Representatives of the Travis County Collaborative for Children (TCCC), the first large-scale effort to use the trauma-informed care model systemically to improve outcomes for children in state care, discussed this unique effort, and shared their recommendations for further improving the child welfare system in Texas. The TCCC is an ambitious initiative catalyzed by the Texas Christian University Institute of Child Development (ICD) and is intended to bring system-wide change to the way foster children in Travis County are cared for during and after their time in state custody. TCCC’s ultimate goal is for children in foster care in Travis County to achieve dramatic healing and find permanent, nurturing families. Built on the principles and practices of ICD’s evidence-based Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI®), the Collaborative is made up of more than 35 partners and affiliates spanning multiple sectors who have agreed to work together to bring healing to children who have experienced trauma, abuse and neglect.

Collaborative Family Engagement

Candice Dosman, Collaborative Family Engagement Manager, Texas CASA; Jessica Maniglia, Adoption Worker (Region 11), Tara O’Connell, CVS/FAD Program Administrator (Region 11), and Carol Self, Lead Permanency Program Specialist, DFPS; and Seana Towler, Program Director, CASA of the Coastal Bend
One of the major methods to improve permanency outcomes for children and youth in state care is the evolving practice of Family Finding. This practice includes efforts to extensively and continuously search for blood relatives and other important adults with a connection to the children, to engage those involved in the planning and decision making for children, and to identify relatives who may be willing to assume custody or other placement options.

In 2015, the Texas Legislature appropriated funds to support Family Finding work to be done through a partnership with CPS and local CASA programs called Collaborative Family Engagement. In this panel, experts discussed how these efforts are working in Texas and improving outcomes for children and youth in state care.

Annual Forum Sponsorship

Thank you to our generous Texas CASA Annual Forum sponsors! Funds raised will be directed toward Texas CASA’s support of local CASA programs so they can be in the best position possible to serve their communities through volunteer advocacy. Please contact the Texas CASA Fund Development team at for more information on future sponsorship opportunities.

If you did not have the chance to donate before or at the event, visit our give page to make your contribution to Texas children. Thank you!

Watch Emily’s Dragon

Watch the world premiere of our new short film, Emily’s Dragon, and learn how CASA plays a part in Emily’s journey through the child welfare system.

Watch Now