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This continuing education podcast connects CASA volunteers with engaging and relevant training designed to help strengthen advocacy for children and families. Each short, dynamic episode features informative discussions with subject matter experts exploring topics connected to child welfare and best practices for CASA advocacy. The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speaker(s) in their personal capacity and are not the official policy or position of Texas CASA.
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One of the CASA guiding principles is respect for the parents we walk alongside, as well as for all parties involved in the case. This episode is brimming with insights from our guest Cindy Dyar, Director of the Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid Family Defense Project, on how we can approach collaboration with parents and their attorneys with an open mind…
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How can CASA advocacy be more deeply informed by what we know about lifelong health outcomes for youth involved with the CPS system? Research has revealed profound inequalities in adulthood related to the type of care experienced by youth in the foster care system. Joining us to put this important research into conversation with CASA advocacy is gl…
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In this episode we're delighted to be joined by author, speaker, and CASA advocate Joan Ulsher, a powerful voice for the mission and impact of CASA. Joan shares insights from her work as a deeply devoted advocate as well as from her memoir "Misplaced Childhood: A True Story of Resiliency and Child Advocacy," which touches on her own experience with…
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What are some tangible ways CASA advocates can cultivate resilience and keep our compassion game strong when engaged in advocacy work that can sometimes weigh heavily on our hearts and minds? The wonderful and wise Christa Mayfield of Good Sustained shines a light on strategies for mitigating burnout and building resilience within ourselves so that…
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In this episode, we're thrilled to be in conversation with Cortney Jones, founder of Change 1, an organization that aims to support young adults with foster care experience in realizing their full potential. Cortney draws on examples from the work she leads at the intersection of restorative justice and child welfare practice to explore how CASA vo…
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Our guiding principles emphasize collaboration with and respect for all parties involved in the case. What can CASA advocates do to build effective working relationships and increase collaboration with attorney ad litems? For this conversation, we're honored to be joined by the deeply insightful Lori Duke, Clinical Professor and Co-Director of the …
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In this episode, we’re delighted to be in conversation with Laura Villarreal, the Neurodevelopmental Program Specialist with the Texas Workforce Commission Vocational Rehabilitation Services. Laura shines a light on the web of services and supports that the Texas Workforce Commission offers for teens and young adults in foster care to help expand t…
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As the families we walk alongside embark on a new school year, let's pause to reflect on how CASA advocates can have a powerful impact on increasing educational stability and success for youth in foster care. In this episode, we're joined by the brilliant Chantal Hinds, an attorney, policy entrepreneur, and an advocate for the well-being of student…
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As CASAs, we know how critical it is that parents and family members have access to the information and support needed to successfully navigate what can be a complex and overwhelming child welfare system. In this episode, we're deeply honored to be joined by Sarah Bryant, managing attorney for The Family Helpline. A project of the Texas Legal Servi…
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With 47% of children in foster care falling into the 0 to 5 age range, it's critical that we're up to date on best practices in advocating for young children and strategies for effectively supporting their families. Powerhouse duo Krystal Vann and Carollyn Thesing from Child Advocates of Fort Bend return for part two of this conversation with a foc…
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In part one of this two-part conversation, we're thrilled to be joined by the seasoned team of Krystal Vann and Carollyn Thesing from Child Advocates of Fort Bend to draw on their experience leading a trailblazing advocacy program for children five and younger and their families. We’ll be talking about best practices in advocating for the developme…
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How can we support the youth we walk alongside in cultivating resilience across the essential, interconnected domains of life? In this episode, we're joined by powerhouse CASA advocate and social entrepreneur Jordan Bartlett for a conversation about showing up, building rapport, and creating authentic relationships with youth. Jordan draws on his e…
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The minimum sufficient level of care or MSL is a critical polestar for CASA advocacy. How can advocates ensure that we are fully embracing the MSL in our decision-making and our recommendations to the court? Drawing on her legal background as an attorney and mediator as well as her decade+ tenure with CASA, the brilliant Leslie Cocke joins us to un…
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January is National Human Trafficking Prevention Month and Texas CASA is deeply honored to have Rhonda Kuykendall discussing what advocates should know and can do when it comes to preventing child trafficking and supporting youth who have experienced the trauma of trafficking. Some trainings and resources mentioned in the episode include Innovation…
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Foster and kinship caregivers play an incredibly important role in caring for the children and youth we walk alongside. How can CASA advocates ensure that these caregivers have the support they need while engaging them as valuable team members in our advocacy for children and families? Joining us for this conversation is the phenomenal Naomi Sawyer…
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At Texas CASA, we believe in learning from the stories and leadership of those who have experienced our systems firsthand. In this episode, we’re joined by Renequa Burch, a mother whose family has been impacted by the Texas foster care system in a deeply agonizing way. Renequa’s experiences offer crucial insights about the importance of engaging me…
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How can we learn from the stories of those who experienced our foster care system firsthand, and move towards more compassionate and holistic advocacy for youth and families? Join us for an inspirational conversation with Collaborative Family Engagement Coach Maria McCord about the importance of empathy in our work with children and families, and t…
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Our guest Lisa Merkel-Holguin has written that "children and youth, in systems that are designed to serve them, often experience their needs and opinions as being overlooked in the context of planning for them." Join us for part two of this episode featuring Anita Horner and Lisa Merkel-Holguin to learn more about creative and meaningful ways young…
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Too often, child welfare professionals' good intentions of protecting children or youth from difficult conversations can have the unintended result of excluding the young person from decision-making that profoundly impacts them. Texas CASA is deeply honored to welcome the powerhouse duo Lisa Merkel-Holguin and Anita Horner from The Kempe Center for…
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Understanding the desires of the child or youth is central to best interest advocacy. How can CASA advocates partner with youth to ensure their voices are heard and their perspectives are valued? In this episode we're joined by two wonderful guests from Texas Network of Youth Services (TNOYS), Prince Hayward and Josue Rodriguez, sharing their exper…
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The CASA guiding principles stress that strengthening families, through recommendations for services, supports, visitation and communications, is in the child’s best interests to achieve stability and/or reunification. In this episode, we reflect on how CASA advocates can help bend the arc of child welfare practice to become more fully strengths-ba…
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The CASA guiding principles emphasize that if a child is removed from their family of origin, the child should be placed with a relative whenever safely possible and in the child’s best interests. This week we're thrilled to share a conversation with The Honorable Leonard Edwards, who joins us to talk about his recent article on the urgency of plac…
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Research shows that youth in foster care are at high risk of dropping out of school and are less likely to attend or graduate from college than peers who did not experience foster care. CASA volunteers can play a powerful role when it comes to supporting these youth in meeting their educational goals, including access to higher education. In this e…
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This special episode of CASA on the Go comes from our Distinguished Speaker Series, where we had the amazing opportunity to host conversations with trailblazers in equity and child welfare. In this episode, Kevin Campbell, developer of the Family Finding model, and Texas CASA CEO Vicki Spriggs discuss the role of compassion in child welfare work, a…
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This special episode of CASA on the Go comes from our Distinguished Speaker Series, where we had the amazing opportunity to host conversations with trailblazers in equity and child welfare. This episode features Texas CASA CEO Vicki Spriggs and Riki Wilchins, Executive Director of TrueChild, discussing gender norms and the connections between gende…
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This special episode of CASA on the Go comes from our Distinguished Speaker Series, where we had the amazing opportunity to host conversations with trailblazers in equity and child welfare. This episode features Texas CASA CEO Vicki Spriggs and Dr. Jessica Pryce, Executive Director of the Florida Institute for Child Welfare, discussing how we can m…
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Domestic violence impacts many families involved in the child welfare system, and this is an area where CASA volunteers can make a powerful impact through informed recommendations about appropriate services and supports. In this episode, we're joined by Claire Sudolsky of the Texas Council on Family Violence as she shares her expertise about how vo…
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How can CASA volunteers skillfully advocate for youth with disabilities? On this episode of CASA on the Go we're joined by Heidi Lersch, Educator and Training Coordinator with SAFE’s Disability Services, and Rashid Amrani-Khaldi, Community Engagement Specialist with SAFE Disability Services, sharing strategies for how CASA volunteers can work to id…
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In this episode, we talk with Alejandro Victoria, Director of Volunteer Admissions at CASA of Travis County, about the connections between CASA advocacy and the nation-wide calls for racial equity that have come to the forefront this summer. Tune in for a discussion of how CASA volunteers can proactively support youth in processing current events, …
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According to a report from Texans Care for Children, DFPS data from 2017 indicate that parental substance use is a contributing factor in 68 percent of child removals in Texas. On this episode of CASA on the Go, the Honorable Aurora Martinez Jones shares her expertise on trauma-informed advocacy strategies for working with families impacted by subs…
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Studies have found that one of the strongest indicators for child well-being is the number of committed adults in a child’s life. How can CASA volunteers use a connection-informed advocacy lens to actively and skillfully engage the children and youth we work with as well as their family and community? This episode features Candice Dosman, Director …
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As the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact our communities here in Texas, many of us are experiencing a radical disruption in our normal everyday routines. What can these experiences of sudden discontinuity and increased social isolation teach us about the experiences of youth and children who are removed from their families, and the jarring l…
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The CASA guiding principles emphasize the importance of understanding the impact of of disproportionality on children and families involved in the CPS system. In part two of this episode we talk with Tanya Rollins, CPS Disproportionality Manager with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, about how CASA volunteers can practice cult…
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The CASA guiding principles emphasize the importance of understanding the impact of of disproportionality on children and families involved in the CPS system. In this two-part episode we talk with Tanya Rollins, CPS Disproportionality Manager with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. Tune in as Tanya shares her expertise around d…
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According to a Texans Care for Children report citing data from 2015, teen girls in Texas foster care were almost five times more likely to become pregnant than their non-foster care peers. In this episode of CASA on the Go we're thrilled to host Kate Murphy, Senior Child Welfare Policy Associate with Texans Care for Children, sharing her expertise…
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Join us for an engaging discussion on the importance of strong educational advocacy within the classroom and beyond! This episode features guest Jamie Bernstein, Assistant Director of the Supreme Court of Texas Children’s Commission, sharing expert tips on the nuts and bolts of how CASA volunteers can advocate for a child's academic success. Suppor…
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