Lone Star CASA urges legislators to keep Child Welfare Reform a state priority

ROCKWALL, TX (Feb. 20, 2015) Lone Star CASA joined more than 300 CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) volunteers, board members and staff from across the state at the Capitol recently to speak up for children in the child welfare system.

Seven representatives from the program traveled to Austin as part of CASA Day at the Capitol, the one day each legislative session that the CASA community assembles to bring attention to improving outcomes for children and youth in the foster care system.

The Lone Star CASA team met with its local Texas legislators, Senator Bob Hall, Representative Stuart Spitzer and Representative Turner to discuss policy priorities to improve issues in the state’s child welfare system identified by the Sunset Commission and to promote the well-being of children and youth in care.

“Traveling to Austin and meeting with our state leaders in the Capitol during the legislative session is empowering,” said Vickie Nettleton, program director of Lone Star CASA. “We get the opportunity to speak up on behalf of the children we serve and ask our legislators to make them a top priority.”

Last year, Lone Star CASA provided more than 60 CASA volunteers to 167 children in Kaufman and Rockwall counties. Statewide, 8,066 CASA volunteers advocated for 23,742 foster children. With 46,823 children in the custody of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services because of evidence of abuse and neglect, a CASA volunteer was provided for just over half of these children.

Urging legislators to support Texas CASA’s recommended policies will go a long way to help improve the state’s child protection system and to ensure the well-being of vulnerable children and youth,” said Vicki Spriggs, chief executive officer of Texas CASA, the state organization that provides funding, training, resources, legislative advocacy and other support for the 71 local CASA programs across the state.

CASA volunteers are specifically trained to advocate for children in foster care. They get to know the child and speak to everyone involved in the child’s life, including their family members, teachers, doctors, lawyers, social workers and others. The information they gather and their recommendations help the court overseeing the cases make informed decisions.

CASA Day at the Capitol included a training session for volunteers before they spoke to their lawmakers and a reading of a resolution honoring the CASA community introduced by long-time CASA supporter Rep. John Otto in the Texas House Representatives. Volunteers wrapped up their time at the Capitol by posing for a group photo in the Capitol Rotunda.

For more information about CASA, visit BecomeACASA.org or lonestarcasa.org or call 972-772-5858.

Submitted by Roland Ruble, Development Director, Lone Star CASA, Inc.

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