Texas CASA, the statewide association for volunteer programs that advocate for abused and neglected children, has received a two-year $170,000 grant from the RGK Foundation in Austin. The RGK Grant will provide funding to produce an online training module and enhance Texas CASA’s quality assurance review process of local CASA programs.
Texas CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates®) is a statewide network of 69 local CASA programs that served more than 22,000 abused and neglected children in 208 Texas counties with the help of more than 7,000 trained volunteers. Texas CASA provides technical assistance and funding to the local CASA programs.
“We are very excited about this grant from the RGK Foundation and about what it ultimately means for children across Texas in the foster care system,” said Texas CASA Chief Executive Officer Vicki Spriggs. “This gift will enable us to provide more flexibility in offering high-quality advocacy training to CASA staff and volunteers in a comfortable, convenient environment. It also will provide a higher level of technical assistance and support to local CASA programs that need it.”
The RGK Foundation grant will fund the conversion of an existing two-day, in-person Core Advocacy Skills Training (CAST) into an online curriculum that can be conveniently delivered to CASA staff and volunteers. The grant also will fund a more robust quality assurance program that will enable Texas CASA to provide an enhanced quality assurance and so the state organization can work more closely with CASA programs that need the most assistance.
CASA volunteers are regular people who have chosen to speak up for abused and neglected children in their community. CASA volunteers are screened and trained and appointed by the court to advocate for the best interests of a child. Because the foster care system is so overburdened and underfunded, often the CASA volunteer is the one constant in a child’s life while he or she goes through the foster care system. CASA volunteers work to move the children through foster care and into safe permanent homes as quickly as possible.