• Weighted Blankets = Powerful therapy tools for kids!

    Jul 10 2014

    Weighted Blankets = Powerful therapy tools for kids!

    “In psychiatric care, weighted blankets are one of our most powerful tools for helping people who are anxious, upset, and possibly on the verge of losing control. These blankets work by providing input to the deep pressure touch receptors throughout the body. Deep pressure touch helps the body relax. Like a firm hug, weighted blankets help us feel secure, grounded, and safe.” - Karen Moore, Registered & Licensed Occupational Therapist

    In our work with children who’ve experienced the trauma of abuse or neglect, sometimes a weighted blanket is the very thing that will calm them and help them regulate behavior. While these blankets are expensive, we were recently able to purchase one for a teenage girl and it has proven incredibly effective for her. Read more

  • I Am the Reason You Should Never Give Up on a Child

    Jun 30 2014

    I Am the Reason You Should Never Give Up on a Child

    By Jackie Davis, Complete post on the National CASA Blog

    I’d like to share with you a little of how CASA’s powerful commitment to children has influenced my life.

    At the tender age of two my parents’ rights were terminated due to neglect and drug abuse. I, along with four of my siblings, were removed from our home, separated, and placed in foster homes. My siblings were adopted, and I rotated through six homes before being adopted at five years old. After about a year, the adoption broke down due to abuse and the family’s refusal to continue caring and providing for me. I was placed back into foster care, and there I suffered at the hands of neglectful and abusive foster parents. In care, I resided with families that beat me violently, made me sleep in bathtubs, locked me in closets for punishment, and abused me in other malicious ways.

    I was placed on high doses of medication for anxiety and severe depression. I was heavily medicated to modify my disruptive behavior and to suppress the true emotions that came with my trauma.

  • Impact Austin awards $100,000 grant for Trauma-Informed Care!

    Jun 25 2014

    Impact Austin awards $100,000 grant for Trauma-Informed Care!

    We are so excited to announce that we are a 2014 Impact Austin grant recipient of $100,000 to fund our Trauma-Informed Care in the Foster Care System initiative! The generous women of Impact Austin review the entire grant process and then vote between two finalists in each category (we were in the Family category) after a brief presentation by the competing organizations. Here’s the speech Executive Director Laura Wolf gave that night. We hope you enjoy it and that you learn a lot about this groundbreaking project to help change the foster care system for all children who’ve been through trauma in their young lives.

    I wish you could meet Madelyn. She is a playful 4-year-old with eyes that sparkle like diamonds. But she wasn’t always such a delight. When CASA first met Madelyn, she had just been removed from her mom ---- having been homeless for much of her short life due to her mother’s mental illness. She couldn’t really speak and she didn’t make eye contact or interact with anyone. Living on the streets, she had been hungry a lot. When she came into foster care, she would ask her foster mom for “ice cream” which was the only word she knew for food. If her foster mom said no, Madelyn would have a meltdown – a temper tantrum that included throwing herself on the floor and urinating. Read more

  • David Rubin wins National CASA Board Member of the Year

    Jun 24 2014

    David Rubin wins National CASA Board Member of the Year

    Our very own David Rubin, former Board President at CASA of Travis County, was honored with the 2014 National CASA Association Board Member of the Year award this month at the National CASA Conference! We want to congratulate and thank David for his visionary leadership. This award is well-deserved and we're extremely proud to share David's accomplishments with you today:

    "I have seen CASA of Travis County grow, evolve and become more sophisticated during David's tenure. Many of the impressive achievements we have observed over the last several years have corresponded to David's time on the CASA board of directors." - Alan Topfer, Board Member, Topfer Family Foundation

    David Rubin began his commitment to CASA as a volunteer. He advocated for the best interest of a brother and sister who’d been badly abused. His dedication to these children was such that when the girl needed to meet with the prosecutor to prepare for the possibility of testifying against her father, David was the one person she wanted to go with her to that meeting. Read more

  • Meet Volunteer Advocate Cheryl Albanese

    Jun 18 2014

    Meet Volunteer Advocate Cheryl Albanese

    By Callie Langford, Originally published in TODO Austin Magazine

    Cheryl Albanese was born in Midland and graduated from Texas A&M with a BBA in Management. She has lived in Austin for 21 years and is currently a Realtor with Turnquist Partners. Cheryl has raised two wonderful children who attend college at The University of Texas and Georgetown University. She is committed to her membership at Life Austin and donates 10% of her profits to charity.

    Cheryl began volunteering at CASA of Travis County in 2005 when she was going through a difficult time in her life. “I needed a place to focus my energy away from the negative things," said Cheryl. "I decided to put my positive energy towards CASA training." Read more

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