Jan 22 2015
By Sonia Kotecha
This year marks CASA of Travis County’s 30th anniversary! As we celebrate 30 years of empowering Austin to speak up for children, I will celebrate my last year in my thirties, and I cannot help but reflect on the year I turned 30, the year my journey with CASA began.
After spending my twenties in Washington, DC as a child protective service worker, at the eve of my 30th birthday, I packed my bags to return home to Austin, TX. As a young twenty-something thrust into the world of child welfare, I found myself in an overburdened system feeling as though I could never do enough for the number of innocent children served. Every morning, I had to decide which child’s case I would prioritize, because there was never enough time in the day to address the needs of the 20 to 30 kids on my caseload. As I continued to witness children as young as 3 years old move foster home to foster home within short periods of time, my frustration with the community’s lack of response grew. I fantasized about ways to improve the system from lowering caseloads to raising community awareness about the needs of children in foster care. Read more
Jan 15 2015
By Laura Wolf
2015 is a big year: CASA of Travis County turns 30 this year! Since we were born in 1985, we've been empowering the Austin community to speak up for children who’ve been abused or neglected.
Like any big milestone, this is cause for both celebration and reflection. We will be proud to recognize, commemorate and appreciate all the people --- volunteers, Board members, Judges, supporters, professional staff, community partners and friends --- who have been with us along this journey and who have helped achieve so many important milestones possible along the way (The most recent milestones include the launch of our Drug Court, Transitioning Youth, Trauma-Informed Advocacy and Family Finding programs, as well as the tremendously successful switch to the Superhero Run theme for our 5K). We will be celebrating all of you throughout this year in big and small ways. We are grateful to you every day. Read more
Dec 04 2014
I am so proud to be a CASA volunteer. It is incredibly rewarding work being able to help the most vulnerable children here in Travis County. As a CASA volunteer, my job is to keep children safe. I work hard to get children reunited with family or adopted into loving, permanent homes. Above all, I want a safe home for the child. If you will indulge, I would like to share the story of one such child.
I became Cole’s CASA volunteer when he was nearly a year old. His mom’s drug and alcohol abuse brought him into the Child Protective Services (CPS) system. Cole’s big bright eyes and happy smile capture the heart of all who meet him. It was heartbreaking to think that anyone — especially a parent— would do anything not in Cole’s best interest.
Nov 10 2014
By Callie Langford, Originally published in TODO Austin Magazine
Since retiring from a 31 year career in electrical engineering, David Rivera has spent a lot of his time doing good.
He volunteers with CASA of Travis County and other organizations, spends time gardening, plays in the praise band at Emmanuel United Methodist Church and is going into the ministry. He is currently studying for his Masters of Divinity at Southern Methodist University.
David grew up in Mission, Texas and came to Austin to attend the University of Texas. He has two sons, one in the Air Force and another who is a social worker. Read more
Oct 22 2014
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and of the 21 new cases we’ve been appointed to by the middle of this month, 10 of those families (representing 22 children) have issues with domestic violence as one of the reasons the children have come into care. Statistics indicate that during an episode of violence children are at high risk of injury or death. Additionally, without intervention, children tend to repeat the behavior they have learned from their parents and those around them. We asked Shellie Ryan, Prevention Advocacy Manager at SafePlace, to talk with us about domestic violence and how we can best help these children and families:
Domestic violence is something that’s often underreported, and the reality is that it is very difficult to leave a relationship that is violent either physically, emotionally, sexually or psychologically.
There are a lot of reasons why a domestic violence survivor may stay in a relationship and not report it, especially when they fear their children will be removed from their home. Sometimes it has to do with wanting to keep providing a two parent home for their children. Read more