CASA of Travis County wins National CASA Inclusion Award

Apr 25 2012

By National CASA

CASA of Travis County has increased diversity in all levels and activities of its organization by dedicating staff time and organization resources to this strategic plan goal.

Realizing that past efforts to diversify were limited by the lack of a staff member dedicated to this important work, CASA of Travis County created a community outreach liaison position. The liaison focuses on building relationships with child welfare partners, expanding awareness in diverse communities and serving on various community work groups. The entire CASA staff team contributes to developing an ongoing vision and plans during annual retreats.

Through a range of activities, including a targeted media campaign, cultural awareness training, and relationship-building, CASA of Travis County has reached and exceeded its diversity and inclusiveness goals. In the past two years, the organization has increased the number of active Latino volunteers by 97% and African American volunteers by 77%, while the total number of volunteers increased by just over 10%. The program is also showing an increase in the ethnic diversity of its staff and board.

Specific activities have included: an integrated print, radio and email campaign featuring volunteers of different backgrounds; targeted staff recruitment distributed through a growing list of diverse community contacts; and one-on-one meetings with more than 100 community leaders. Additionally, a more diverse staff has introduced different supervision styles, which have enhanced relationships with volunteers, and a more diverse board has expanded funding sources to include grants requiring diversity.

“I very much respect and appreciate the work that CASA of Travis County is doing on the issues of diversity and inclusiveness….(the organization) is working with genuine dedication not only to educate their current volunteers and staff on the critical importance of a healthy racial and ethnic identity in the children they serve but is working to recruit a more diverse volunteer pool as well.” ~ Darlene Byrne, judge, 126th Judicial District.

National CASA Inclusion Award, diversity, disproportionality, Austin, Volunteer, Child abuse, foster care, foster child

Key Richardson, Sonia Kotecha, Laura Wolf, Charron Sumler, Erin Findley, Lisa Rosenbaum, Veronica Forsyth

See the rest of the National CASA Awards of Excellence winners on their website.