Hundreds of Casa Volunteers Descend on Capitol to Advocate for Funding, Reforms to Keep Children Safe

Casa Advocates Urge the Legislature to Fund Child Protective Services, Casa to Protect Texas Children


Austin, Texas — Hundreds of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) volunteers from across the state visited the Texas Capitol on Wednesday to urge lawmakers to ensure that Child Protective Services and CASA programs have funds they need to keep abused or neglected children in Texas safe and to make foster children a priority.

“We are here speaking up for abused children who have no voice,” said Vicki Spriggs, CEO of Texas CASA. “Too many children are abused and neglected and too many children fall through the cracks of a broken and overloaded foster care system. We want the Texas Legislature to make children, our most vulnerable citizens and our greatest assets, the top priority in Texas.”

“The state does not make a good parent so we need to ensure that every child in foster care is placed in a safe, permanent home,” said Spriggs. “It makes no sense to remove a child from an unsafe home only to repeatedly traumatize that child with multiple placements, a lack of consistency because of caseworker turnover, overmedication and inadequate treatment and therapy.

“When we fail to make sure that our children are getting the help they need to heal, that is devastating to children and it creates long-term social problems for all of us.”

“Texas has made significant progress in the services it provides to abused or neglected children. But the system continues to be underfunded and overburdened and that is why CASA, which leverages volunteers, is so important,” Spriggs said.

Child Protective Services and CASA programs need financial resources to deal with projections that 3,000 more children will be entering the child welfare system by 2015, according to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. DFPS reports that more than 47,000 children were in the state’s care in 2012 and projects that nearly 50,000 will be in care by 2015.

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.

Volunteers from every corner of the state traveled to the Capitol to advocate for the thousands of children in the foster care system. Their goal was to remind legislators about the importance of adequately funding CPS and protecting the abused and neglected children in the Texas child welfare system through high-impact programs like CASA.

About Texas CASA
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.

In FY 2012, 7,260 CASA volunteers and programs advocated for 22,970 children in CPS custody. They helped guide the children through the overburdened foster care system to safe, permanent homes. But, this number represents less than HALF of the children in CPS custody last year.

When home is no longer safe for a child, and the child must enter the foster care system, a judge may appoint a committed volunteer called a CASA or Court Appointed Special Advocate®. The volunteer’s focus is on that child, giving hope and help in guiding the child to a safe, permanent home. Make a difference. Consider becoming a CASA volunteer. Visit

• Every 8 minutes a child in Texas was a victim of abuse or neglect
• A child died from abuse and neglect every 41 hours in Texas
• 1 out of every 109 children was a victim of abuse or neglect in Texas
• More than 38,000 or 60% of those abuse victims were infants to 6 years old
• More than 47,000 children were in the care and custody of DFPS
More than 24,000 children, more than half the children in care, did NOT have CASA advocates as they made their journey through foster care

Source: DFPS Data Book for FY 2012 (Sept. 1, 2011-Aug. 31, 2012)

For more information about your county, go to the Data Book: