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  

Excerpt from
Part Seven of our 12 part-series: A Year in the Life of CASA See this entire entry and previous entries in my
Executive Director Blog

Roles and Responsibilities:   
On a monthly basis, what does a CASA volunteer do?

    Now that a volunteer has been appointed as a Guardian ad Litem (see previous blog entry), they have the legal access to all of the information they need to begin advocating for the child or children on the case.

   Each volunteer serves as an advocate in their own unique way, but National CASA, Texas CASA, and our own local CASA program have minimum standards that each volunteer adheres to. The standards ensure that every child is visited, caregivers are contacted, and the overall integrity of the CASA Volunteer is upheld. These standards include guidelines for monthly contact with every child and the adults involved in the case:
  1. In a timely manner after appointment, obtain first hand a clear understanding of the needs and situation of the child by reviewing all relevant documents and records and interviewing the child, parents, social workers, teachers and other persons to determine the facts and circumstances of the child's situation.
  2. Communicate with the CPS caseworker and at least one time per month for the duration of the case.
  3. Meet the child(ren) in a timely manner after appointment and meet in person with the child(ren) at least one time per month
  4. Have other types of age-appropriate contact with the child(ren) including telephone calls, emails, and/or letters as applicable for the child's age and interests.
  5. Meet in person with the child's primary placement provider in a timely manner after placement occurs, and communicate with the placement provider at least once a month thereafter for the duration of the assignment.
  6. Advocate in the community for the child(ren)'s best interest by interfacing with mental health, medical, legal, educational and other community systems to assure that the child(ren)'s needs in these areas are met.
  7. On each case, assigned CASA staff and CASA volunteers will communicate at least once a month so as to update records and contact logs and participate together in scheduled case conferences.
    Read about how volunteers use these guidelines and status as a legal guardian to makes contacts, visits and inquiries based on the needs of the child on the case in this month's ED Blog here

     Next month, I will share about the impact a volunteer can have, in part eight of our series, The Real Impact: Real stories of volunteers making a difference for the children and youth.
Thank you,  
Norma Castilla-Blackwell
Executive Director  
Show a "Hole Lotta Love" for CASA 


All proceeds benefit CASA of Central Texas  
October 30, 2017
River Crossing Golf Club, Spring Branch
11:00AM Tee Time     6:00PM Dinner & Entertainment 
Team and Sponsor registration is NOW OPEN!
Space limited to 40 Teams/120 players - Register early! 
Register and find details here.

Hole-in-one sponsored by  

19th Hole Sponsor  $3,500
Eagle Sponsor  $3,000
Birdie Sponsor  $1,500
Hole Sponsor + team  $900
Hole Sponsor  $250
Team Registration (3)  $675
Individual Registration  $250

Special thanks to
New CASA Volunteers      

Welcome to our newest CASA Volunteers sworn in this month!

Four new advocates were sworn in on June 18th. Pictured left to right are Board Member Frank Pereira, Kelli Ann Widner of Guadalupe County, Katina Billue of Guadalupe County, Denise Scott of Guadalupe County, Joyce Holte of Comal County, The Honorable Judge Melissa McClenahan, Board President JoAnne Germer and Executive Director Norma Blackwell.
Volunteer Voices
Elizabeth Helmkamp, CASA Volunteer since 2017

Why did you become a CASA? 
"I decided to become a CASA volunteer to support and guide these unfortunate children who don't know where else to turn when their lives and family environment meet up with a major crisis.  I want them to know there are always people out there who care and look out for their best interests no matter what."   
What are you looking forward to about being a CASA volunteer?
"I am looking forward to making a dramatic difference in a child's life."

What would you say to someone thinking about becoming a CASA volunteer?
"Children who have experienced trauma, neglect, and/or abuse need to know that there are caring and loving people out there.  Sitting back and thinking about doing it does not help these children know that you are out there and that you do care."
Become a CASA Volunteer training
Nancy Deckard, CASA Volunteer

Training courses are ready for you!

San Marcos CASA office 
August 30 - September 27     
1 to 5 p.m.

New Braunfels CASA office
August 31 - September 28  
4:30 to 8:30 p.m.  
Check out our calendar for dates and times for the rest of the year and for information on how to get enrolled.

For more information on training courses contact Volunteer Coordinator Samantha Mundine Coleman at 512-392-3578, 830-626-2272 or by email, or click here to visit our website.

Training is required for all new Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteers. 
Our Volunteer Training Course is a 5-class series.
Continuing Education 

" Working with Schools & Students  with Special Needs"

      On July 24th,   Mills Rodgers, Owner/Founder of Rodgers Speaks!, spoke to CASA Volunteers about advocating for children with special education needs. Mills is an educator, speaker, and trainer who has over 10 years of experience working in education with special education and at-risk youth. 
     Mills spoke about working within the school system to advocate for the special educational needs of children. Mills explained the purposes of an Individual Education Plan, or IEP, and an Admission, Review and Dismissal, or ARD, meeting, as well as some of the state requirements for these meetings.

     Mills gave tips to CASA advocates on how they specifically could be heard at these meetings and took questions from CASA advocates.  
Toni Urban and Alvino Regalado won the door prizes!
CASA of Central Texas Volunteers are required to complete 12 hours of continuing education annually.
Be a Superhero  
   Run, walk or fly to the 2017 CASA Superhero Run 5K and Kids 1K where you can be a superhero for children who've been abused or neglected. You choose what kind of superhero you will be: register for the race, donate to kids, fundraise for the cause, or do all 3!  

CASA Superhero Run - 5K and Kids 1K
Sunday, September 17, 2017
Domain Central Park - 11100 Alterra Pkwy, Austin

     Race day will feature our annual superhero costume contest, an obstacle course by BAM Academy to test your super strength and agility, special superhero guest appearances, villains to defeat, bounce houses, tasty food, amazing photo ops and lots of fun family activities!

     This year's run will be held at the Do
main in Austin and will benefit the CASA programs serving Caldwell, Comal, Guadalupe, Hays, Travis, and Williamson Counties.  Please visit the event website to register and for more information,
"Voices" 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.  

New Braunfels 
Wednesday, August 2nd, noon 
CASA office

San Marcos 
Wednesday, August 16th,  noon  
Historic County Courthouse, 1st floor conference room

Please RSVP to Eloise Hudson by email or at 830-626-2272. 
Would you like to host a CASA Voices session in your town? Please contact us.
Lunch provided by Fox's Pizza Den in New Braunfels and Chick-fil-A in San Marcos. 
Community Support    
San Marcos Bluebonnet Lions Club 

Walmart in Buda 

Grande Communications
Grande Care Club 
July 2017
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Upcoming Events


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
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 New Braunfels 
Noon -1 p.m.
CASA office

CASA Superhero Run 
7 a.m. 
Domain Central Park, Austin 
More info click here

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

CASA Volunteer Training Begins - Saturdays 
8:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. 
New Braunfels CASA office


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

CASA Volunteer Training Begins
1 - 5 p.m.
New Braunfels CASA office

Voices Tour in San Marcos 
Noon - 1 p.m.
Historic Courthouse
room 101
Texas CASA Conference 
More info click here 
Hole Lotta Love Golf Tournament  
11 a.m. 
River Crossing Golf Club, Spring Branch 
More info click here
CASA Of Central Texas Inc.