Texas CASA, the statewide association for volunteer programs that advocate for abused and neglected children, has received a $12,000 grant from the Texas Bar Foundation to produce a video to train volunteer advocates to speak up in court for Texas foster children.
Texas CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates®) is a statewide network of 69 local CASA programs with more than 7,000 trained volunteers who served more than 22,000 abused and neglected children in 206 Texas counties in 2011. Texas CASA provides technical assistance and funding to local CASA programs.
“We are very excited about this grant from the Texas Bar Foundation and the impact it will have for children, who through no fault of their own, end up in the foster care system,” said Texas CASA Chief Executive Officer Vicki Spriggs. “This new training video will better inform and educate volunteers so they can provide the best possible advocacy in court before judges who have the difficult job of deciding what will happen to children in foster care.”
The Texas Bar Foundation grant –funded video will feature the stories of three different families and their children as they go through the court and child welfare systems.
“This video will provide volunteer advocates with the information and tools they need so they can best advocate for children and especially older youth and children of color who are overrepresented in the foster care system,” said Spriggs.
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 then a court appoints them to advocate for the best interests of a child. Often the CASA volunteer is the one constant in a child’s life while he or she goes through the over-burdened foster care system. CASA volunteers work to move the children through foster care and into safe permanent homes as quickly as possible.
Since its inception in 1965, the Texas Bar Foundation has awarded more than $14 million in grants to law-related programs. Supported by members of the State Bar of Texas, the Texas Bar Foundation is the nation’s largest charitably-funded bar foundation.