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Texas CASA Receives Texas Equity Award from HHSC

Texas CASA Receives Texas Equity Award from HHSC
Organization Recognized for Promoting Importance of Racial and Ethnic Identity

AUSTIN, Texas – Texas CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), the state association of 72 local CASA programs that recruit and train volunteers to speak up in court and represent the best interests of children in the child protection system, is pleased to announce that it received the Equity in Child Welfare Award from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. The Texas Equity Awards acknowledge efforts to eliminate disproportionality and disparities among children, families and disparately impacted individuals in urban, rural and border communities in Texas.

“We are very proud to receive this honor from HHSC as it recognizes the excellent work of our staff, volunteers and board members to emphasize equity in everything we do,” said Texas CASA CEO Vicki Spriggs. “Texas CASA works extremely hard to create an environment that supports diversity and inclusion, and this award directly reflects our continuing initiatives to promote the importance of racial and ethnic identity throughout the entire organization.”

Texas CASA was recognized for initiatives focusing on diversity, equity, cultural competence and ensuring better outcomes for children and youth in care. The organization is committed to inspiring and empowering the local CASA programs to not only provide a CASA volunteer for every child who needs one, but to recruit and train quality volunteers that understand and reflect the diversity of the children they serve.

All too often, children and youth in care are separated from their families and communities, both of which are primary sources of experience and understanding about one’s racial and ethnic identity. Texas CASA recognizes the importance of racial and ethnic identity to all children, especially those in the state’s foster care system, and promotes trainings to help staff, volunteers and board members explore their own identities so that they can help support the healthy development of racial and ethnic identity in the youth they serve.

The award was presented at the Texas Equity Awards Luncheon during the Center for Elimination of Disproportionality and Disparities Cross-Systems Summit on August 21, 2015. The summit focused on collaborating across systems to address racial inequities and how service delivery in health and human services, education, juvenile justice, housing, disability, and other areas affect outcomes for children and youth in care.