Texas College Football Coaches Join Casa To Kick Off A Statewide Campaign To Help Abused And Neglected Children & Recruit New Volunteers

Texas Casa Launches New Football Coach Psa With Coaches From Baylor, The University Of Texas, Texas A & M, Texas Tech And Texas State


Waco, TX — As another exciting college football season starts, Texas top college football coaches are kicking off a new initiative to help abused and neglected children across the state.

The coaches of Baylor University, the University of Texas, Texas A & M, Texas Tech and Texas State are throwing their support behind Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) in a special launch of a public awareness campaign to recruit new CASA volunteers across Texas. Each football coach shot an individual PSA for Texas CASA and one combined PSA with all of the coaches.

Baylor Coach Art Briles is joining forces with University of Texas Coach Mack Brown, Texas A&M Coach Mike Sherman, Texas Tech Coach Tommy Tuberville and Coach Dennis Franchione to support Coaches for CASA.

“As Texas college football coaches, we may be rivals on the field, but we are all on the same team for children through CASA. We want to win on the field, but too many of our kids are losing at home because of abuse and neglect,” said Baylor University Football Coach Art Briles. “What’s at stake is a whole lot more important than a football game. Become a CASA and help a foster child win by finding a safe, permanent home. Join the team! Make a difference in a child’s life, and your own.”

Baylor Coach Art Briles kicked off the Coaches for CASA campaign at Floyd Casey Stadium to thousands of Baylor Bear football fans with a special airing of the PSA on the jumbotron and a CASA day at the game. The goal is to encourage Texas football fans to volunteer for local CASA programs and help abused and neglected children in our state.

Volunteers are desperately needed to help protect Texas children in foster care. 227 Texas children died of abuse and neglect in Texas in 2010. Nearly 43,000 children were in foster care in 2010 and Child Protective Services estimates that more than 51,000 will be in care by 2014.

“Children are often shuffled from home to home in the foster care system and feel scared and alone,” said Texas CASA Executive Director Joe Gagen. “The CASA volunteer is often the one constant caring adult in a child’s life who works to find that child a safe and loving home as quickly as possible.”

“CASA is honored to partner with Baylor Bear Coach Briles to launch the Coaches for CASA campaign,” said Susan Burt, Program Director, CASA of McLennan and Hill Counties. “Coaches are teaming up with CASA programs across Texas will help recruit new volunteers, especially men, who are desperately needed in raising a voice against the unspeakable. More than half the children in foster care are boys, but only 18 percent of the volunteers statewide are men. These children need strong, positive adult role models and CASA volunteers forever change the lives of abused and neglected children.“

In FY 2011, 7,040 CASA volunteers advocated for 22,020 children in the custody of Child Protective Services. They helped guide the children through the overburdened foster care system to safe, permanent homes. But, more than 20,000 children in CPS custody last year did not have CASA volunteers to help them through the foster care system. 8,300 more children will be entering the child welfare systems by 2014, according to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

Studies have shown that children who have CASA volunteers spend a shorter time in foster care and are less likely to return to the system, which is good for children and good for taxpayers.

“We are here speaking up for abused children who have no voice,” said Joe Gagen, CEO of Texas CASA. “Too many children are abused and neglected and hundreds of children are dying each year. We need thousands of caring adults to get involved in a child’s life and become a CASA volunteer.”

Texas CASA is a statewide association of 69 local CASA programs that recruit, train and supervise community volunteers who are court appointed to represent the best interests of children in CPS custody due to evidence of abuse or neglect. Each CASA volunteer is appointed to advocate for one child or set of siblings so he or she can get to know the child or sibling group and what the children’s current and future needs are.

The CASA volunteer visits the child regularly, monitors the child’s progress and the progress of the CPS case in general. The CASA volunteer interviews everyone involved in the child’s life and reviews all relevant medical, educational and legal records, and reports his or her findings to the court and other parties. CASA volunteers make recommendations to judges about the children’s best interests now and in the future.

Make a difference. Consider becoming a CASA volunteer. Visit www.BecomeACASA.org.

• Every 8 minutes a child in Texas was a victim of abuse or neglect.
• A child died from abuse and neglect every 38 hours in Texas.
• 1 out of every 100 children was a victim of abuse or neglect in Texas.
• Nearly 40,000 or 59% of those children were infants to 6 years old.
• Nearly 43,000 children were in the case and custody of DFPS.
• Nearly 20,000 children, nearly half the children in care, did NOT have CASA advocates as they made their journey through foster care.

Source: DFPS Data Book for FY 2010 (Sept. 1, 2009-Aug. 31, 2010)

For more information about your county, go to the Data Book: http://www.dfps.state.tx.us/About/Data_Books_and_Annual_Reports/2010/default.asp