2016 Sessions

At the 2016 Texas CASA Conference, all workshop and institute sessions will be offered under the following three tracks:

Recruiting (Rec.): Attracting and engaging with the right people to keep the CASA movement alive and spreading across the state.

Equipping (E): Providing the CASA network, and others who work with children, with the skills they need to work effectively within their roles.

Retaining (Ret.): Keeping everyone in the CASA network engaged and actively involved in the CASA cause.

Thursday, November 3

four half-day institutes | 1 – 4:30 p.m. 

Culture & cohesion – The Glue that Binds Us

E, Ret.
Whatever the size of your CASA program, you cannot fully fulfill your vision and mission until your staff, board and volunteers are all in alignment around your organizational culture and understand how to effectively work together. Without a strong culture and cohesion, you are destined for constant infighting, struggles, unhealthy conflict, turnover and other organizational challenges. Join a recognized HR expert as she shares how you can transform your program into a unified team of amplified voices who drive the passion and the purpose of CASA. Leave this session with an action plan for facilitating the development of greater team cohesion – all with the end goal of best serving the children in your community. Alice Dendinger, SPHR, Human Resource Consultant, Coach & Certified Mediator, Alice Dendinger Alliance Group

Sponsored by: Ernst & Young 

Mobilizing the Power & Passion of a Whole New Breed of Volunteers

Rec., Ret.
Volunteer involvement has changed over the past 20 years, challenging leaders to adapt to a savvy New Breed of volunteers. Plenty of volunteers are willing to get involved, but according to their rules–not yours. In this hands-on session, Tom McKee will describe seismic shifts that have created a new volunteer culture, such as the widespread emergence of technology, the episodic volunteer, slacktivism and the development of a knowledge-based economy. But Tom won’t leave you in a quandary – he will tell you how you can take advantage of these shifts to mobilize the power and passion of a whole New Breed of volunteers, and offer fresh strategies, as well as marketing, recruiting, motivating, leading and coaching skills, for volunteer involvement today. Thomas W. McKee, Owner, Volunteer Power
Download Handout

Sponsored by: Thompson & Knight, LLP

Amplifying Voices for CASA & Children Through Collaborative Family Engagement (CFE)

E | CEUs: 3.0
The Collaborative Family Engagement (CFE) initiative is making strides to improve outcomes for all children in care by building a network around the children and their families. CFE is an integrated approach to Family Finding that establishes a true team between volunteer CASA organizations and child protection professionals to establish communities of support around young people, through a lens of trauma-informed care and permanency. Along with receiving an overview of CFE, attendees will learn and practice tools used in the model and will hear from a panel of professionals using CFE about how the model has led to practice change in their work. Candice Dosman, CFE Manager, Texas CASA; Carol Self, Lead Permanency Specialist, DFPS; Anna McDonnell, Advocate, CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County; Seana Towler, Program Director, CASA of the Coastal Bend; Jackie Townsend, Advocate, Child Advocates of Fort Bend
Download CFE Presentation | Download GenoPro Handout   | Download Mobility Mapping Handout | Download House of Worries Handout

Sponsored by: Superior HealthPlan

Creating a Trauma-Informed Lens for Better Advocacy

E | CEUs: 3.0
Build on your general understanding of the impact of trauma on children in the child welfare system and gain practical skills and tools to use in your daily work as an advocate for children in this engaging and educational institute. You will first hear from a training specialist from Texas Christian University’s Institute of Child Development on how to change your lens and your behavior to help the children you serve and work with heal. Learn the difference between a “willful disobedience” perspective and a “survival” perspective and how it impacts the behaviors in children, as well as the importance of your response to children who have experienced trauma. You will also hear from a panel as they discuss the practical changes that you can make in your daily practice to be a more trauma-informed advocate for children, youth and their families. Daren Jones, LMSW, Training Specialist, TCU Institute of Child Development; Elizabeth Watkins, J.D., Attorney, DFPS; Michelle Cobern, Executive Director, CASA of Titus, Camp, and Morris Counties; Renee Price, BS, LCPAA, Director of Child Welfare Services, DePelchin Children’s Center
Download TBRI Handout | Download Impact of Trauma Handout

Sponsored by: Pegasus Schools Incorporated

Friday, November 4

Workshops A | 10 – 11:30 A.M. 

“It’s Raining Men!” Recruiting the Men We Need

Rec., Ret.
Every time recruitment is discussed, the question comes up: “How do we get more men to believe in and join the CASA mission?” Yet, we still have not seen a major shift in the number of active male volunteers. In this exciting, interactive and high-energy training workshop, you will gain the tools and materials needed to broaden the culture of your program, and learn the various ins and outs of recruiting men of all ages and walks of life. Hear from active male Advocates from programs of all sizes, and find out what drew them to CASA and keeps them here! Dennise Jackson, Volunteer Recruitment & Retention Officer; Dave Anderson, Volunteer Specialist, Texas CASA

what permanency means to us: insights from foster care alumni

Permanency is a frequently mentioned concept in the child welfare system, but what does it really mean to the foster children and youth who are seeking it? What does it feel and look like? Come hear from foster care alumni who have experienced different forms of permanency, and learn what it really means to those who attain it. You might be very surprised! Brenda Sweeten, MSSW, LCSW, Lecturer, Director of Social Work Field Education, Foster Care Liaison Officer, The University of North Texas; Foster Care Alumni

Sponsored by: Dahill

Sharing Our Mission Powerfully to Raise Awareness & Money

E, Rec.
In our fast-paced world, you have about five seconds to make a lasting first impression. The way you and your board members introduce your organization is key to raising awareness and building a pool of long-term supporters. In this high-energy, highly interactive session, you’ll learn three communication tools to distill stories of your impact down to their most emotionally engaging essence. These three tools: 3-sentence introductions that are clear and bold; powerful 2-minute stories; and 6-word stories; are easy-to-implement and WILL cause your supporters to engage at a deeper level by giving more of their time and/or more of their money. Lori L. Jacobwith, Founder, Ignited Fundraising
Download Presentation

New Tools for Case Planning

E | CEUs: 1.5
On Sept. 1, 2016, CPS introduced two new tools: the Family Strengths and Needs Assessment which assists in the development of the Family Plan of Service, and the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) assessment for the Child Plan of Service. Learn more about these tools and how they are used in practice, and what changes you can expect in case planning. Kimberlie Mansell, MSSW, Permanency Program SpecialistCristina Guerrero, Trauma Informed Care Program Specialist, DFPS

Download Handouts:
CANS Overview
Dante Summary Report
Family Strengths Photo Activity
FASN & CVS Child Priorities
FASN & CVS Family Priorities
Texas Family & Caregivers Information Sheet
Texas Youth Information Sheet

Utilizing dashboards for better board-staff communication & organizational performance

As a CASA staff member, do you struggle with figuring out the “right” amount of information to provide to your board? As a board member, do you have trouble deciding what, out of the information staff provides you, is most important? Learn how you, as program staff and board members, can better communicate with each other by utilizing dashboards to streamline and elevate board reports to focus on financial and strategic indicators that will frame discussions, drive board action, and amplify your organization’s mission. Angela Barraza, CFRE, Nonprofit Consultant, Beyond the Mission

Breaking the Cycle through Community-based Education & Prevention

E | CEUs: 1.5
Exposure to early childhood adversity and toxic stress has been shown to be connected to poor health outcomes in adulthood, but The Center for Prevention of Child Maltreatment is working to make a brighter future for children and families by creating a national model for context-driven, community-based prevention. Come learn about the lifetime effects of child abuse and neglect – and the Center’s trailblazing efforts to break the cycle using predictive analytics and data science to build an innovative framework to prevent child maltreatment. Dr. Dyann Daley, MD, Pediatric Anesthesiologist, Cook Children’s Medical Center, Executive Director, The Center for Prevention of Child Maltreatment

Sponsored by: Upbring

Workshops B | 1 – 2 P.M. 

Stonewalling Discrimination: Advocating for LGBT Young People in Foster Care

E | CEUs: 1.0
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) children and youth in foster care face particular challenges, often experiencing discrimination, harassment and even violence in reaction to their real or perceived sexual orientations and gender identities. These young people need advocates who know how to work on their behalf. This interactive workshop will explore the unique challenges and issues LGBT children and youth face, and provide strategies to ensure the fair, equitable and caring treatment they deserve. Dr. Sarah Hogue, Adjunct Professor, Department of Behavioral & Social Sciences, St. Edward’s University

Download Handouts:
Queer Bingo
Queer Bingo Answers
LGBTQI Vocabulary

PUSHing for Success & Educational Achievement for Foster Youth

E | CEUs: 1.0
Advocacy in the child welfare system starts with information gathering, and there are no better representatives of what life is like in foster care than the children who have experienced it. Constructed from the narratives of students from two universities who have experienced foster care, this collaborative project hopes to increase awareness about the challenges foster care alumni face in their quest to attain upward mobility through education. Come hear what we have learned from young adults who have been part of the child welfare system, and learn of the factors that contribute to success and educational and leadership achievement for foster youth. Brenda Sweeten, MSSW, LCSW, Lecturer, Director of Social Work Field Education, Foster Care Liaison Officer; Dr. Lisa Dicke, Professor, Department of Public Administration; Abbey Heffner and Patrick Ratliff, Graduate Students, MPA Program, The University of North Texas

Spotlight on Exploitation & Why Kids in Care Are at Risk

E | CEUs: 1.0
Statistics show that children in foster care are at an exponentially increased risk of becoming victims of human trafficking. Learn why children involved with the child welfare system are especially vulnerable to exploitation, become familiar with the warning signs that a foster child is being trafficked, and leave with proven resources to prevent trafficking situations and promote recovery. Meghan Zuraw, Outreach Manager, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) – Texas Regional Office

Energize Your CASA Program’s Cultural Competency through a Race/Ethnicity Study Group

E, Ret.
CPS and CASA have taken many steps to address and ultimately eliminate racial disproportionality in child welfare. But how can this goal translate into the day-to-day work of your CASA program? Learn how to cultivate a study group around race, ethnicity and cultural competency in your program to provide an avenue for you staff and volunteers to engage with these topics in a more thoughtful, reflective way. Gain the tools needed to lead this type of discussion group to reinforce your program’s work in serving the best interests of all children in care. Dorothy Garretson, Program Operations Specialist, Texas CASA
Sponsored by: Amerigroup
Download Presentation

Download Handouts:
How to Decide the Topic
Past Topics of Texas CASA Group
Study Group Resources
Discussion Questions
Warm Up Questions

Putting SUCCESS in Succession Planning

E, Ret.
We know succession planning is important but tend to avoid it as long as possible – often until it’s too late. But thoughtful planning creates an environment of sustainability, saves your organization money and community goodwill, and might help you sleep better at night. Come learn how to get beyond your checklist and create a meaningful (and even fun!) plan for your organization. We’ll discuss what planning is, what it isn’t, and how to get started. Sally Blue, Coach and Consultant, Sally Blue Consulting

Advancing Your Mission by Engaging Your Volunteers as Brand Ambassadors

Rec., Ret.
Volunteers are the foundation from which many nonprofits are built, so like any good foundation, is your program’s volunteer base built to last? This workshop will give you actionable strategies to support, mobilize and manage your current volunteers for the greatest possible impact on your program. Learn to engage and position your volunteers to help grow your program and advance your mission. Millicent Boykin, Chief Program Officer, VolunteerNow

Workshops C | 2:15 – 3:15 P.M. 

Moving Beyond the Big Talk: Engaging Children of All Ages in Discussions about Sexual Health

E | CEUs: 1.0
Everything children and youth need to know about sex cannot possibly be conveyed in one “big talk,” rather, we need a framework for ongoing, age-appropriate conversations with them about sexual health and development. This session will prepare you to talk with children of all ages about sexuality by examining your own biases and barriers to having authentic conversations with children about sexual health, exploring age-appropriate messaging, and practicing handling questions and scenarios. Monica Faulkner, Ph.D., LMSW, Director, Texas Institute for Child & Family Wellbeing, The University of Texas at Austin; Katie Wolfe, LMSW, Community Health Education Manager, Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas
Download Handout

Sponsored by: Texas Health Resources

Understanding the Impact of Prenatal Alcohol Exposure

E | CEUs: 1.0
Prenatal alcohol exposure can have lifelong implications for children, including physical, behavioral, cognitive, social and mental health manifestations, but CASA can make a difference for these children and their families. Learn about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs) and how to recognize behaviors consistent with FASDs – and examine opportunities to prevent, intervene and provide support. Leah Davies, Associate Director, Texas Office for Prevention of Developmental Disabilities (TOPDD); Sandra Galindo, CPS Nurse III, CPS; and Elisabeth Holland; Health Educator, Pregnant Post-Partum Intervention Program, Nexus Recovery
Download Handout

Intentional Growth: Start Small. Grow Big.

Programs of any size can grow volunteer ranks by following simple, consistent marketing and recruitment strategies. This workshop will cover the fundamental steps of recruitment for every size program, how to build a recruitment program with moderate resources to increase your volunteer ranks, how to expand your program with greater resources, and how to leverage your volunteers, supporters and board. Lynn Brooks, Director of Community Relations; Sarah Crowder, Manager of Volunteer Recruitment & Outreach; and Kathleen LaValle, Executive Director & President, Dallas CASA

The Role Leadership Plays in Preventing Abuse Within CASA Programs

Join CASA of Travis County and Praesidium as they describe their first-of-its-kind partnership that works to ensure that CASA’s policies, practices and procedures are protective of children’s safety and minimize risk of abuse: looking beyond the standards and challenging the status quo. Participants will learn about Praesidium’s proprietary model for preventing abuse, The Praesidium Safety Equation®, and how CASA of Travis County has utilized that model and recommendations for enhancing its organization’s abuse prevention measures. Aaron Lundberg, LMSW, President and CEO, Praesidium; Laura Wolf, J.D., Executive Director, CASA of Travis County

Texas CASA’s PMC Project: What We’ve Learned & Where We’re Going

Rec., E
Now in its third year, the Texas CASA Permanent Managing Conservatorship (PMC) Project is moving the CASA network closer to improving outcomes for children and youth in PMC, or long-term foster care, by targeting its work into three areas: Volunteer Profile and Recruitment, Training, and Advocacy. Join Texas CASA staff and representatives from participating local programs as they discuss best practices, data trends and recommendations, and the vision for year three. Participants will also get the chance to discuss items they would like to see in the PMC Toolkit. Anna Munoz, Permanency Supervisor, Texas CASA; Leroy Hodge, WINGS Supervisor; Heather Rashid, LMSW, Interviewer/Children’s Services Coordinator, Child Advocates of Fort Bend; Amy Saenz, Director of Recruitment & Education, CASA of Williamson County
Download Handout

Red Carpet Treatment
Do you and your staff simply “communicate” with your CASA volunteers regularly, or do you “connect” with them each and every encounter? Do you “share the facts,” or do you “build bridges of insight?” Do you “talk to them nicely,” or do you give them the “Red Carpet Treatment?” Representatives from CASA of Liberty/Chambers Counties will delve into the difference and give you a step-by-step action plan for better retaining your program’s volunteers. Debbie Dugger, Executive Director;Terry Patterson, Advocate Coordinator, CASA of Liberty/Chambers Counties
Download Handout

Workshops D | 3:30 – 4:30 P.M. 

Internet Safety: What Kids & Teens Are Doing Online that Puts Them at Risk

E | CEUs: 1.0
Many missing or exploited children’s cases begin because of something a child was doing online. In response, the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) developed a toolbox of resources to educate adults about these dangerous behaviors and how to recognize them. Learn about problematic behaviors, such as solicitation, cyberbullying and sexting, and how to talk to the vulnerable children you serve about their online activity in an age-appropriate manner. Meghan Zuraw, Outreach Manager, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) – Texas Regional Office

Advocacy that Matters for Older & Aging-Out Youth

Older youth who have languished in the system face many barriers to successful outcomes, which can make advocating for them very challenging – but CASA volunteers can make a difference! Renew your passion for and commitment to these vulnerable teens by gaining a better understanding of the challenges they face. Delve into the benefits and services available for them, and learn strategies to support them through the duration of the case and beyond. Tim Judkins, Casework Supervisor & Transitioning Youth Specialist, CASA of Central Texas, Inc.
Download Presentation Handout | Download College Support Program List

Sponsored by: Dahill

One Meeting—One Plan

E | CEUs: 1.0
Have you ever thought that having a single meeting between CPS and the Foster Care Provider to develop a universal service plan for the child would be a better way of doing business? After much community collaboration, DFPS will embark on a single plan approach to serving children and youth in care. Join DFPS permanency experts to learn more about the changes to meetings and what to expect beginning in 2017. Carol Self, Lead Permanency Program Specialist, DFPS
Download Handout

Come Back & See Us: Increasing Your Donor Retention

You can increase your fundraising effectiveness while saving time and money by focusing on donors who have already shown interest in your nonprofit. In this workshop, the founder of an award-winning, strategic design firm will share tactics for increasing ongoing donations using tested (and a few experimental) ideas and strategies. Leave with fresh and practical ways to better engage and retain your donors. Rachel Clemens, President, Creative Suitcase
Download Handout

Demonstrating CASA’s Contributions with the Child Outcomes & Volunteer Effectiveness (COVE) Project

Texas CASA, in collaboration with the Child and Family Research Partnership at The University of Texas at Austin and CASA programs in Texas, has undertaken a research project to determine the effectiveness and contribution of CASA volunteers’ advocacy for children. Come hear preliminary reports on the selection bias study portion of the overall project, as well as a brief overview of the ongoing volunteer survey that is the basis of the volunteer effectiveness portion of the research project. Karen Dvorak, Data & Research Manager, Texas CASA; Jennifer Lawson, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow; Sydney Briggs, MPAff, Research Associate, Child & Family Research Partnership, The University of Texas at Austin

Marketing Isn’t a Four-Letter Word

Marketing is often considered a four-letter word and a problematic issue that many CASA programs are unsure of how to tackle. Where do you start? Does successful marketing need to be expensive? How much time do you need to invest? This workshop will help demystify marketing for your CASA program, and you will learn how to use tangible tools to develop and execute your own marketing strategy. Gabe Ballesteros, Director, Communications and Marketing, CASA of the South Plains

Download Handouts:
Development Brochure
FAQ Handout
Marketing Plan Template
Press Release Sample 1
Press Release Sample 2
Press Release Template
Recruitment Flyer
Referral Sources Form Template
Registration Form
Social Media Calendar Template
Speakers Bureau Questionnaire

Saturday, November 5

Workshops E | 9:00 – 10:30 A.M. 

5 Secrets of Nonprofit Email Marketing Geniuses

Come discover what the best nonprofit marketers already know–that email marketing is a skill that can be mastered. From creating a donor retention plan to learning how to get constituents to opt-in (and understanding why some opt-out), this educational workshop is one you won’t want to miss! Walk away knowing why email marketing works when it’s done right, what email marketing mistakes to avoid, and the three traits of nonprofit email marketing geniuses. Dana Ostomel, Nonprofit Industry Evangelist, Firespring

Sponsored by: GDC Marketing & Ideation

Priorities for the 85th Legislative Session

E, Ret.
You can be an effective grassroots advocate for CASA children in the courtroom and at the Capitol! Join the Texas CASA Public Affairs team as they explain the Texas legislative process and give a preview of the fiscal and political realities that will help shape the upcoming 85th Legislature. Get briefed on Texas CASA’s legislative priorities for the 2017 session, including budget priorities, examining foster care placement issues, and reforming child abuse and neglect investigations for children in state care. Andy Homer, Director of Public Affairs; Sarah Crockett, Public Policy Coordinator, Texas CASA
Download the Legislative Priorities

Educational Advocacy through the Equity Lens

E | CEUs: 1.5
Children of color and those with disabilities in the foster care system face heightened educational challenges, including disproportionate rates of discretionary discipline. Learn about the negative effects that discretionary discipline can have throughout a child’s life – including class and grade failures, decreased likelihood of graduating, and future involvement with the juvenile and adult justice systems. Leave this workshop empowered to improve outcomes within your role as an advocate in ARD meetings and other settings, and with a deeper understanding of the importance and practicality of restorative justice methods of discipline. Lauren Lluveras, Equity & Inclusion Specialist; Mia Sneed, State Equity Specialist; Megan Guilbeaux, Project Coordinator; Center for Elimination of Disproportionality & Disparities, Texas Health & Human Services Commission
Download Presentation

Understanding & Supporting Caregivers who Have Experienced Trauma

E | CEUs: 1.5
CASA volunteers may recognize when a parent or caregiver’s past traumatic experiences are connected to their current behaviors, but can feel ill prepared to address it due to the complexity of trauma and the limits of their relationship. Explore how multi-generational trauma can impact parenting, how to recognize signs that parents and caregivers might need help working through trauma, and strategies for using the CASA relationship as a part of the healing process. Dr. Beth Gerlach, Ph.D., LCSW, Associate Director; Monica Faulkner, Ph.D., LMSW, Director, Texas Institute for Child & Family Wellbeing, The University of Texas at Austin

Sponsored by: Amerigroup