CASA Up Close
CASA of Central Texas advocates for abused and neglected children in the court system by recruiting, training and supporting community volunteers.

     Welcome to another edition of CASA Up Close Monthly. Please feel free to contact CASA for more information about anything you read. And, as always, thank you for your continued support.
Letter from the Executive Director  
Take Part in Reform 
     As we come to the end of our 30th year of advocacy here in Central Texas, change is happening across the state.  This month, a U.S. District Judge ruled that the State of Texas has violated the constitutional rights of foster children.

     "Years of abuse, neglect and shuttling between inappropriate placements across the state has created a population that cannot contribute to society, and proves a continued strain on the government through welfare, incarceration or otherwise," U.S. District Judge Janis Jack of Corpus Christi wrote in her decision.

     Read the full article from the Texas Tribune here.

     While it is a great step to recognize that the system needs to be improved, this decision can be appealed, and any final reforms will take time to be implemented. As we watch what will be done, CASA will continue to provide trained advocates for children in care.

     We at CASA have always believed that children who have been removed from their homes because of abuse and neglect need additional support while in the State's care. That is why we work to provide trained volunteers whose only role is to advocate for the child's best interests both in the courtroom and in the community, but more volunteers and support are needed.

    CASA tainings for 2016 are set. The first ones start in January. You can find times and locations here.

    A great place to start if you would like to learn more about CASA is to attend one of our Voices Tours information sessions. We have six scheduled in January and more throughout the year.

    You can stay up to date with us and follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for an easy way to pass on information to your friends.

     CASA also needs to increase capacity to support more volunteers and children. You can make a financial contribution to our program here.

     And as always, please help us get the word out about the role of the CASA volunteer and the need for more volunteers and support. I am confident there are enough caring people in our community to provide a CASA volunteer for every child in care, they just don't know about us yet!
Norma Castilla-Blackwell
Executive Director  
Welcome New CASA Volunteers
Sworn in at the Annual Volunteer Mixer on December 11th.

Pictured l-r: Mary Navarrette of Guadalupe County, Samantha Hillis of Comal County, Briana Woodard of Guadalupe County, Christine Harbach of Comal County, Jasmin Cruz of Hays County, Amy Williams of Hays County, Judge Charles Stephens II, Michael Nash of Comal County, Katherine Borchert of Hays County, Jessica Celestino-Smith of Comal County, Linda Kerger of Guadadalupe County, and Alvino and Ester Regalado of Hays County.

Sworn in December 16th

Michelle German and Janis Gernert of Hays County with Judge Melissa McClenahan.
Volunteer Spotlight

Ren Liner, CASA Volunteer since 2014 and Carolyn Liner, CASA Volunteer since 2011. 
"My wife, Carolyn, had been active in CASA for a couple of years and I attended the CASA conference in Galveston with her.  After the conference, and the various sessions, I could not not volunteer!" - Ren 

"If your goal is to make a difference in a young child's life, being a CASA volunteer is one of the most worthwhile things you can do, and we have many more children than we have volunteers to serve those children." - Carolyn

"It's rewarding and absolutely necessary for someone (CASA) to speak for the child.  You CAN make a difference in their lives." - Ren
Become a CASA Volunteer training
CASA Volunteer Toni Urban sworn in March 2014

Sign up for a 2016 Training Session  

For more information on training sessions contact Training Coordinator Debbie Haynes at 512-392-3578 or by email, or click here to visit our website. 

A New Volunteer Training Course is required for all new Court Appointed Special Advocate Volunteers.
The Volunteer Training Course is a 6-part training series and all 6 classes are required.

January 13 thru February 17, Wednesdays
4:30 PM to 8:30 PM, San Marcos
January 14 thru February 18, Thursdays
1:00 PM to 5:00 PM, New Braunfels

February 27 thru March 26, Saturdays
8:30 AM to 1:30 PM, San Marcos

March 9 thru April 13, Wednesdays
1:00 PM to 5:00 PM, San Marcos
March 10 thru April 1, Thursdays
4:30 PM to 8:30 PM, New Braunfels

See additional 2016 training dates on our website calendar

San Marcos
Historic Hays County Courthouse Room 101
111 E. San Antonio Street

New Braunfels
CASA office
1619 E. Common Street, Building C
Voices Tour Information Sessions Voices 

Want to learn more about the role of a CASA Volunteer?

Come to
ribbon our one-hour information session and hear how our volunteers advocate for children who have been abused and neglected.   
CASA staff and
volunteers will be on hand to share their stories and answer your questions.  
Voices Tours

Tuesday, January 5th, noon
GVEC Community Room,  908 Curtiss Street

New Braunfels 
Wednesday, January 6th, noon
CASA office
Thursday, January 7th, 5:30 p.m.
Public Library Meeting Room B, 550 Scott Street 

Tuesday, January 12th, noon
First Lockhart National Bank 
San Marcos 
Wednesday, January 20th,  noon
Historic Hays County Courthouse, Room 101
Canyon Lake
Friday, January 23rd, 5 p.m.
Cranes Mill Baptist Church, 10215 FM 2673

Please RSVP to Eloise Hudson by email or at 830-626-2272.   
Would you like to host a CASA Voices Tour in your town? Please contact us!  
Lunch provided by Fox's Pizza Den in New Braunfels and Chick-fil-A in San Marcos. 
Annual Advocate Appreciation Mixermixer 

We had a great time celebrating our volunteers at the annual Appreciation Mixer.




It was a night to say Thank You to our current Advocates, and to welcome new ones.



We had a great 2015 and we look forward to seeing you all in 2016!   

Thank You For Making the Holidays Special
St. Thomas Catholic Church 
     This holiday season, local organizations and individuals provided gifts for more than 250 abused and neglected children. Every child that CASA serves received a personalized gift that was delivered by their volunteer in time for the holidays. Thank you to everyone who participated!

     Alicia Taylor, Bath and Body Works, Becky Lake, Brittany Schneider, Buda United Methodist Church, Candice Shanks, Carol Little, Carolyn Knighton, Cathy and Everett Dodson, Chili's Bar and Grill, Christ Presbyterian Church, Christia Jarboe, Donya Lowe, Elizabeth Decker, Elizabeth Fair, Ellen Cruz, Gentiva Hospice, Gin Hudson and Bobbie Ayers, Hays County Community Supervision and, Corrections Department, Huisache Grill Staff, Jaimie and Juanita Lopez, Jayne and Zach Pendergast, Jimbo Scarborough, John Manthey, Jonathan Cates, Laura McMillan, Maria Thompson, Mary Danniel, Mary Eisenberg, Megan Terreo, Molly Christy, Mothering San Marcos, Motts Wrecker Service, Myra Stewart, New Braunfels Girl Scouts, Nicole Harris and the Academy of Choice High School, Patricia McCaleb, Rachel Woolslayer, San Marcos PAGA, St. Thomas Catholic Church, Suzanne Williams, Ted and Nancy Zahorski, Texas State University - Health Information Management, The Cernosek Family, The Dubose family, The Wing Society , Timothy Casserly, Total Wellness, Vickie Strong and Whitney Babbs.
Academy of Choice High School 
Bath and Body Works 
San Marcos PAGA 
Continuing EducationCe 

Youth Mental Health
Presentation by:
Respite Services
Youth Mental Health Care

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016
5:30 P.M - 8:00 P.M

New Braunfels Location: To Be Announced
Teresa Thompson from Youth Respite Services will be talking about Respite Services and Youth Mental Health Care.  

RSVP to Debbie at or 830-626-2272

Advocates are required to complete 12 hours of Continuing Education per year.
     CASA of Central Texas was recently awarded a $35,000 grant from the National CASA Association made possible by a contribution from Jewelers for Children.

   Throughout 2016, we will use these much needed funds to continue expanding program services to reach more children from Caldwell, Comal, Guadalupe and Hays Counties.  Facing rapidly increasing population growth and incoming case trends, CASA will recruit, train and support more volunteers for more children - striving toward our vision of having a CASA for every child.  CASA of Central Texas is one of only 16 local programs nationwide to receive this highly competitive grant.
Attend the Army All-American Bowl 
     The U.S. Army All-American Bowl coordinators are once again offering free tickets to CASA of Central Texas. This is a great opportunity for advocates to have an outing with the children on your cases or request tickets for their placement so they may attend together.
      CASA of Central Texas was provided with general admission ticket vouchers, available on a first come, first serve basis. They can be picked up from either CASA office .

Advocate John Nutting with his CASA child at a previous U.S. Army All-American Bowl Game.

What : The U.S. Army All-American Bowl is an East versus West showdown that features the top 90 high school football players from across the country and the nation's top 125 high school marching musicians who perform during half-time.
When: January 9th, 2016, noon 
Where: Alamodome, Downtown San Antonio 
Save the DateCiao

Mark your calendars to spend the evening
with CASA for our annual fundraiser.

April 8, 2016 
6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. 
Wurstfest Stelzenhaus, New Braunfels 


Judge Bert Cobb, Hays County
Judge Charles Stephens, Comal County Court at Law #2 
Donate Your Jury Pay to CASA 

     CASA of Central Texas is now appearing on the county courts list as a local charitable organization to whom jurors may elect to donate their jury duty pay.

     CASA is on the Jury Pay Donation lists of all four of our counties - Caldwell, Comal, Guadalupe and Hays.  If you serve as a juror, please look for our name and consider donating to CASA!
Thank you County Judges, Commissioners and Administrators!
Community Supporters

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Walton Development & Management
December 2015
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Upcoming Events


Voices Tour in Schertz
Noon -1 p.m.
GVEC Community Room

Voices Tour in New Braunfels
Noon -1 p.m.
CASA office
More info click here

Voices Tour in Kyle
5:30 - 6:30 p.m.
Public Library
More info click here

Voices Tour Lockhart
Noon -1 p.m.
First Lockhart National Bank
More info click here

CASA Volunteer Training Begins
4:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Historic Hays County Courthouse room 101
More info click here

CASA Volunteer Training Begins
1 - 5 p.m.
New Braunfels CASA office
More info click here

Volunteer Continuing Education
5:30 - 8:30 p.m.
New Braunfels TBA
More info click here

Voices Tour in San Marcos
Noon - 1 p.m.
Historic Courthouse
room 101

Voices Tour in Canyon Lake
Noon -1 p.m.
Cranes Mill Baptist Church


Voices Tour in New Braunfels
Noon -1 p.m.
CASA office 

Voices Tour in San Marcos
Noon - 1 p.m.
Historic Courthouse room 101

CASA Volunteer Training Begins
8:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. 
Historic Hays County Courthouse room 101
More info click here


Voices Tour in New Braunfels
Noon -1 p.m.
CASA office

CASA Volunteer Training Begins
1 - 5 p.m.
Historic Hays County Courthouse room 101

CASA Volunteer Training Begins
4:30 - 8:30 p.m.
New Braunfels CASA office

Voices Tour in San Marcos
Noon - 1 p.m.
Historic Courthouse room 101

Voices Tour in New Braunfels 
Noon -1 p.m.
 CASA office
More info click here    

Annual Fundraiser 
6:30 p.m. 
Wurstfest Stelzenhaus 
New Braunfels 
Voices Tour in San Marcos 
Noon - 1 p.m.  
Historic Courthouse
room 101  
CASA Of Central Texas Inc.