CASA Up Close | February 2020
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! Use these quick links to get involved.
In this Issue

  • Welcome New CASA Volunteers
  • Training Dates
  • CAMP CASA
  • CASA Training & Support Center Update
  • Online Giving Days
  • Darkness to Light Training
  • Information Sessions
  • Advocate Continuing Education
  • Champions fore Charity
  • Events Benefiting CASA
  • Community Support
Letter from the Executive Director
As we end the first month of the year, I would like to highlight important work that was recognized in January, but should not stop just because the calendar flips to a new page.

January was Human Trafficking Prevention and Awareness Month and my good friend Andrea Sparks, Director of the Child Sex Trafficking Team at the office of Governor Greg Abbott, shared some startling, yet important information with me.

Texas ranks #2 in the number of calls made to the national hotline . That translates to screening  19,471  high-risk Texas youth since December 2017, largely in DFW, Houston, and Austin/San Antonio area, and of those, 2,556 (13%) show "clear concern for exploitation/trafficking."

But, those numbers probably represent only a fraction of the children who need help, Andrea said. "We are only seeing the tip of the iceberg of this crime.  Like sexual abuse, the perpetrators want to hide their victims in plain sight and victims are too fearful and traumatized to ask for help."

Why does this matter to us at CASA? Andrea, previously the Texas CASA Director of Public Policy, knows CASA volunteers can help children who are susceptible to being recruited into the sex-trafficking circle.

"A child who does not have a healthy adult relationship they can count on is very, very susceptible.
We need CASA volunteers to help prevent, recognize and address child sex trafficking and exploitation among the kids they serve. CASA can advocate to get the right services and supports for them instead of being penalized for their flight, fight or freeze response. They can also prevent exploitation of the vulnerable youth they serve by advocating for their needs to be met, especially as they are transitioning out of care."

So, what am I asking you to do? Get the word out that this is happening. Know what to do if you suspect a child needs help. Learn how you can be part of the solution at http://www.missingkids.org/ and https://gov.texas.gov/organization/cjd/childsextrafficking. Support the mission of Andrea's team:
Build sustainable capacity, enhance expertise, promote policies, and create new and leverage existing collaborations to:

Join in fighting for all children in Texas.
Watch more "Can You See Me" videos and get the links to share them here
Norma Castilla-Blackwell
Executive Director
CASA of Central Texas
Upcoming Volunteer Trainings

Become a CASA Volunteer


February 19 - March 18
1 - 5 p.m.

February 20 - March 19
5 - 9 p.m.

April 1 - April 29
5 - 9 p.m.

April 2 - April 30
1 - 5 p.m.

April 18 - May 2
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Location TBA
For more information on training courses, contact Brandi Raschke at 512-392-3578, 830-626-2272, or by email.

One-hour pre-training interview to occur at least one week before start of each training cycle. Mandatory 10-hour online class to be completed during the training cycle.

Application deadline prior to each cycle is two weeks before start of training. Submit your volunteer application here . 
Join us at CAMP CASA
CASA of Central Texas' Annual Dinner & Auction

Join us at
CAMP CASA
-every child deserves to be a happy camper-

Honorees:
Caldwell County - Leonard Germer
Comal County - Belinda and Ron Frisk
    Guadalupe County - Linda Douglass
Hays County - Laura Dupont


Friday April 3rd 2020
6:30 pm
Chandelier of Gruene
1924 Bretzke Lane, New Braunfels, TX

Thank You to our Sponsors
Guiding Arrow
Happy Camper
Greater Texas Credit Union  
Jeff Hargis
Toasty Marshmallow
Broadway Bank
Up for Auction
Three-night stay in a Beautiful, Hill Country Airbnb in Fredericksburg
$4,500 value, Donated by Kate Woosley

2019 Award winning architecture, 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath, 2550 SF, lap pool, private, 4 acres, 1 mile from the nearest winery & restaurant, 1.5 miles from Main St.

The main house and barn sleep 12 people. Main home has a king bed in the master, queen pull out couch downstairs, two twins and a queen upstairs. The barn has two kings.
Training and Support Center Update
On January 17th, CASA Volunteers, Board Members and Staff attended a "Construction Party" so see the progress on our new Training and Support Center in San Marcos.

Click the video at the right to take a tour, and click here to see photos from the afternoon.
Take a "walk" through the office
Thank you to our project partners
Online Giving Days
Amplify Austin

CASA is excited to participate in the 8 th annual Amplify Austin, a community-wide day of online giving in Central Texas. Last year, many donors empowered voices for children in just a short 24-hour window.

In honor of our 35 th anniversary this year, we ask everyone to give at least $35 during Amplify Austin from 6:00 p.m. on March 5 th to 6:00 p.m. on March 6 th here . We also ask everyone to share our fundraising efforts with 35 of your closest friends and loved ones!

Our ultimate goal is to raise $35,000 that will directly support our new Training and Support Center in San Marcos, which is expected to open later this year. Having a permanent home in the community will allow CASA to train even more volunteers who will then be able to advocate for abused and neglected children being placed in safe, permanent, and loving homes of their own. Alternatively, if you wish your contribution to be designated toward general operations, please denote “operations” in the memo note under “Donation Message” Step 1 before check out.

Also, peer-to-peer fundraising opportunities are available! Click on “Fundraise” at the top of the page to get started here .
Big Give 2020

This year, CASA will also be participating in the 7 th annual Big Give! In 2019, supporters rallied together to raise their voices on behalf of children. With your help, abused and neglected children conquered being victims – now, they’re victors! 

I n recognition of our 35 years of serving children, we ask everyone to give at least $35 during the Big Give from midnight to midnight on March 26 th   here . We also ask everyone to share our fundraising efforts with 35 of your closest friends and loved ones!

Proceeds from this year’s Big Give will go towards much-needed office renovations at our New Braunfels location. And, we are hopeful to soon announce a matching gift donor! 

Through you, an even greater number of children’s lives will be transformed!
Darkness to Light Training
One in 10 children in the U.S. will be sexually abused before the age of 18.

CASA of Central Texas is offering a free 2-hour open-to-the-public training for adults on 2/20, 9:30-11:30 AM, at the Seguin Public Library - learn how to take proactive steps to protect children from sexual abuse.

Using an evidence-informed approach, attendees will be provided with simple and practical actions to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. Great training for a ny community members that have interactions with children in various community settings. We should strive to not only protect our own children, but all children in our community. You must RSVP to reserve a spot as space is limited to 20 attendees. Contact lcoleman@casacentex.org to make a reservation. Educators will receive 2 CEUs.
"Voices" Information Sessions

Learn more about CASA at one of our upcoming Information Sessions

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

Come to 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. 

Please RSVP by email or at 830-626-2272 
Seguin
Monday, February 10, noon
Seguin Public Library

Buda
Monday, February 10, 6:30 p.m.
Buda Public Library

Dripping Springs
Tuesday February 11, 6 p.m.
Dripping Springs Community Library

San Marcos
Wednesday, February 12, noon
Historic County Courthouse, 1st floor conference room

Bulverde
Monday, February 24, 6:30 p.m.
Mammen Family Public Library

Canyon Lake
Monday, March 2, noon
Tye Preston Memorial Library

Schertz
Monday March 2, 6:30 p.m.
Schertz United Methodist Church

Lockhart
Tuesday March 3, 6 p.m.
Clark Library
Champions fore Charity

Your two cents are important to us. You can make a 107% difference today by supporting CASA through Champions fore Charity , a fundraising program that provides organizations like CASA the opportunity to generate contributions through the Valero Texas Open.

CASA will receive 100% of all donations for every birdie made at the 2020 Valero Texas Open PLUS a 7% match from Valero! A total of 2,883 birdies were made at the 2019 tournament. If the same number of birdies are made at this year’s tournament, your two-cent pledge would actually yield a $61.69 donation! That would certainly make you a champion fore CASA!

Donate here in just 3 easy steps now. Or pick up a donation form from one of the CASA offices today.
Continuing Education for Volunteers

CASA hosted Carol Morin (DFPS Regional Operations Systems Administrator for Region 7) and Jackie Bingham (Daycare Coordinator) to provide insight on the process of receiving daycare services. They provided an informative presentation of the processes involved from CCS (Child Care Services), to CPS (Child Protective Services), to the families who receive these services.
 
1. Once a Caseworker (DFPS or Kinship) has made a daycare request they will ask the caregiver for three pay stubs for proof that they work at least 40 hours a week. If they do not work 40 hours a week there is a waiver available that needs to be submitted with the request for assistance.
2. It is important for families and CASA to be aware that the caregiver is responsible for finding the daycare, seeing if the daycare has spots available, and register the child/ren once CCS (Child Care Services) has approved their request.
3. The Caseworker is responsible for helping the caregiver find a daycare that is CCS approved and reminding them that CCS has to approve prior to using services.
4. A CCS representative will be the one contacting the caregiver to provide approval and help with the process of receiving a swipe card. (See the DFPS website under “Child Day Care Services” for more details on these processes)
 
As CASA advocates who have cases in which families are utilizing or need daycare services; CASA can be a significant support in explaining processes clearly to families, help with communications among CCS, CPS and the families involved as well as monitoring to make sure these services are being used.
Events Benefiting CASA

CASA of Central Texas welcomes community initiatives to help promote awareness and funding for our program. By taking on this type of project, event organizers assume the responsibility of creating a successful event without a significant level of assistance from CASA. All special events and fundraising efforts conducted to benefit CASA are run by financially responsible and reputable organizations and individuals motivated by a genuine desire to help CASA. If you are interested in hosting a third-party fundraiser to benefit CASA, please review these guidelines .
Community Support
Hays County Sheriff's Office
CASA of Central Texas, Inc. | 830-626-2272 | info@casacentex.org | www.casacentex.org