“You don’t get paid to be here. You want to be here.”

“You don’t get paid to be here. You want to be here.”

Apr 04 2017

“I appreciate the work CASA does. Sometimes at the end of the day people are only around because they’re paid to be there. You can feel like just a case number. CASA volunteers are there for you. There are no ulterior motives. They’re there for your best interest and to make sure your voice is heard. To give someone a voice who really needs it is outstanding. I can’t stress enough how important it is... to have someone there who wants to be there and genuinely cares about your wellbeing and that your voice is heard is a spectacular thing.” – Alexis Baska, advocate for youth in foster care with Foster Club Read More

Reunifying Families Part 3: The reality of life in the child welfare system and how we address it

Reunifying Families Part 3: The reality of life in the child welfare system and how we address it

Mar 23 2017

One of the reasons people are comfortable with the idea of removing children from their families is the assumption that children would be better off being placed with families that can provide them a "better" life. This results from a fundamental misreading of the reality children face in the foster care system. “People envision that there is this wonderful, affluent, well-connected, fantastically harmonious family just waiting to adopt all of our kids,” says Michelle Nowlin, Child Advocacy Specialist & Team Leader. “For most of the children we serve, that simply is not the case.” Read More

Reunifying Families, Part 2: Bias and disproportionality in the child welfare system

Reunifying Families, Part 2: Bias and disproportionality in the child welfare system

Mar 22 2017

On a cursory glance, it can be easy to ascribe ill will to parents who are doing their best and failing. CASA's role is to look beyond that, to get to know who the children are and where they come from, and to evaluate each case on an individual basis. That requires valuing and really understanding the parents' perspective, where they come from, and what led to abuse and neglect. We need to know them well enough to make recommendations for a service plan that will help them succeed and to determine their fitness to reunify. In order to do this effectively, a CASA volunteer needs to enter without bias. Read More

Reunifying Families, Part 1: Realities of abuse and a belief in change

Reunifying Families, Part 1: Realities of abuse and a belief in change

Mar 21 2017

In 2016, 53% of the children's cases that CASA of Travis County helped close ended in family reunification, up from 33% in 2007. In the first of a 3-part series, we explore the realities of the child welfare system and why reunifying families is our primary goal.

At the start of most Child Protective Services (CPS) cases, the judge signs an order taking temporary custody of the children in question. A CASA volunteer is assigned to the case and a plan is put into place with supports for both parents and children... Read More