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


CASA is Appointed:   
How a judge involves CASA, the role of Guardian ad Litem, the CASA volunteer-supervisor team.

     In Caldwell, Comal, Guadalupe and Hays Counties, CASA is appointed to children and youth as a Guardian ad Litem, or GAL. The term GAL refers to the legal status of the CASA volunteer's position and can be translated to Legal Guardian for the Court's purposes only.

    
Following the laws of the Texas Family Code, with this appointment, CASA volunteers have legal access to the children and their caregivers, as well as documents and information relevant to the child's well-beingjust as would a parent or legal guardian.
  The GAL is appointed for the purposes of this particular court case to represent the best interests of the child.

     The judge who oversees the Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR) has the authority to appoint CASA. Anyone can ask the judge to appoint CASA to the case -- the Child Protective Services caseworker, the child's attorney, parents, or anyone else who feels the child would benefit from a special advocate on the case. 

    Read about how volunteers use this GAL appointment to advocate for children in the ED Blog here

     Next month, learn how CASA Volunteers make a difference inside the courtroom and out in part seven of our series, Roles and Responsibilities: On a monthly basis, what does a CASA volunteer do?
 
 
Thank you,  
 
Norma Castilla-Blackwell
Executive Director  
Congratulations Graduates

We are so proud of our recent high school graduates!  What a wonderful accomplishment!  Best wishes to everyone on your future endeavors!

  
Claudia graduated on May 31. CASA was appointed in 2016 with Volunteer Melanie Musgraves as her advocate. Claudia turned 18 in May 2017 and aged out of care. She lives with her father and her siblings and hopes to go into cosmetology.  




 
Lillian graduated on June 7.  She plans to attend Texas A&M San Antonio and live in a dorm.  She has an interest in biology.  She is pictured with her CASA Volunteers Earl and Sue Dittman, who have been advocates for Lillian and her two younger siblings advocates since June 2016. 
 




Max graduated on June 7 with his high school diploma. CASA was appointed to Max in 2010.  He left care in 2014 when he was 20 years old.  He currently holds down two jobs and is looking to go to Austin Community College soon. Tim Judkins was his CASA Supervisor and remains in touch with Max
 
 



Melissa graduated on June 2. Melissa is leaving foster care and hopes to attend junior college in San Antonio. She is pictured with CASA Volunteer Melanie Musgraves who has been her advocate since 2013.
 
 







  Teresa and Bailey graduated on June 2 and obtained their high school diplomas. They are pictured with Samantha Coleman, their CASA Volunteer, who has been involved since 2012.  Their case remains open as both girls would like to enroll in junior college and pursue their respective vocational interests (Cosmetology for Teresa and Sports Management for Bailey).






Trison graduated from high school in May. CASA was assigned to him in 2013 and his CASA Volunteer was Mary Jo McLaughlin. Trison left care when he turned 18 in 2016 and currently is living independently. Trison is pictured with CASA Casework Supervisor Tim Judkins.
 
 

New CASA Volunteers      
    

Welcome to our newest CASA Volunteers sworn in this month!


  Sabrina Fumagalli (right) of Comal County was sworn in on June 2.



Terry Garcia and Amanda Duffield, both of Hays County, were sworn in on June 6.

Eight new volunteers were sworn in from Guadalupe County on June 19th.
Pictured l-r are: front row- Mary Morin, Anna Patton and Elizabeth Helmkamp; back row- CASA Executive Director Norma Castilla-Blackwell, CASA Board President Susie Russell, Guadalupe County Commissioner Judy Cope, Jennifer Nira, Haley Dixon, CASA Board Member Frank Pereira, The Honorable Thomas Stuckey, Tanasha Smith, Jaria Howard, Sophia Barnard, CASA Board Member JoAnne Germer and Guadalupe County Commissioner Jim Wolverton.  


Sharon Krebs and Barrie Breed both of Hays County were sworn in on June 28th. 
Volunteer Voices
Betty Leto, CASA Volunteer since 2016

Why did you become a CASA? 
"It is an opportunity to help a child and enrich my life at the same time."
   
What is something that has stood out to you during your time as a CASA volunteer?
"The commitment of CASA Casework Supervisors"

What would you say to someone thinking about becoming a CASA volunteer?
"Being a CASA Volunteer is a very rewarding experience and you won't regret it."
 
Become a CASA Volunteer training
Nancy Deckard, CASA Volunteer


Training courses are ready for you!

 
Wednesdays
 
San Marcos CASA office 
July 19 - August 16    
4:30 to 8:30 p.m. 
 
Thursdays
New Braunfels CASA office
July 20 - July August 17  
1 to 5 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.
Summer Book Fair
Advocate Rosa Hernandez and her CASA children enjoy a book with McKenna of Canine Classmates.
 
    On June 21st, CASA of Central Texas hosted a summer book fair for all advocates and the children on their cases.

     Volunteers stopped by and picked out books for their children to enjoy.

     McKenna, the newest addition to our partners at Canine Classmates, also stopped by for a visit.
Members of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas and Donna Dishmann with McKenna of Canine Classmates. 
 
 
    

Than
k you to the Catholic Daughters of the Americas-Court Saint Joseph-Honey Creek #2260
 
Continuing Education 

"The Role of the CPS Legal Advocate & Domestic Violence"

      On June 5th, Child Protective Services Legal Advocate Kayla Reese spoke about domestic violence and how the role of the Legal Advocate is changing with the passing of Senate Bill 434.  Kayla detailed how domestic violence intersects with child welfare and answered questions from our CASA volunteer advocates..


     Kayla estimated 1 in 3 Texans experience domestic violence in their lifetimes.  She took Volunteers through the Abuse and Control Wheel to describe the cycle of abuse and she outlined local statistics as well as services offered by the Hays Caldwell Women's Center in San Marcos.    

Congratulations to door prize winners Sharon Skroki and Mary Oetzel!

CASA of Central Texas Volunteers are required to complete 12 hours of continuing education annually.
"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, July 5th, noon 
CASA office

Wimberley
Tuesday, July 11th, 1 p.m.
Wimberley Village Library

Buda
Wednesday, July 12, 10 a.m.
Buda Public Library

San Marcos 
Wednesday, July 19,  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. 
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, www.casasuperherorun.com.
Show a "Hole Lotta Love" for CASA 


Presents 

 
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 - Register early! 
Register and find details here. 
Community Support    
  
 
Enterprise Holdings Foundation, at the request of Enterprise Fleet Management and its partner Maldonado Nursery & Landscaping.
 

 
June 2017
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Upcoming Events
 
 
 
July


5th
Voices Tour in New Braunfels 
Noon -1 p.m.
CASA office


11th
Voices Tour in Wimberley
1 - 2 p.m.
Wimberley Village Library 
More info click here


12th
Voices Tour in Buda
10 - 11 a.m.
Buda Public Library 


19th
Voices Tour in San Marcos 
Noon - 1 p.m.
Historic Courthouse
room 101

 
19th
CASA Volunteer Training Begins
4:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Historic Hays County Courthouse room 101
 
20th
CASA Volunteer Training Begins
1-5 p.m.
New Braunfels CASA office
 

 

August 


2nd
Voices Tour in New Braunfels 
Noon -1 p.m.
CASA office

 
16th
Voices Tour in San Marcos 
Noon - 1 p.m.
Historic Courthouse
room 101
 
 
30th
CASA Volunteer Training Begins
1 - 5 p.m.
Historic Hays County Courthouse room 101
 
31st
CASA Volunteer Training Begins
4:30 - 8:30 p.m.
New Braunfels CASA office

 

September
 
6th
Voices Tour in New Braunfels 
Noon -1 p.m.
CASA office


17th 
CASA Superhero Run 
7 a.m. 
Domain Central Park, Austin 
More info click here


20th
Voices Tour in San Marcos 
Noon - 1 p.m.
Historic Courthouse
room 101
 

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


October

4th
Voices Tour in New Braunfels 
Noon -1 p.m.
CASA office
More info click here


 
12th
CASA Volunteer Training Begins
1 - 5 p.m.
New Braunfels CASA office


18th
Voices Tour in San Marcos 
Noon - 1 p.m.
Historic Courthouse
room 101
  
19-21st 
Texas CASA Conference 
Galveston 
More info click here 
  
 
30th
Hole Lotta Love Golf Tournament  
11 a.m. 
River Crossing Golf Club, Spring Branch 
More info click here
 
 
CASA Of Central Texas Inc.
www.casacentex.org
830-626-2272