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CASA Partners with Texas CASA and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas

Texas CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), the statewide association of CASA programs that recruit, train and support volunteers to speak up in court for children in the child protection system, announced today that it received a grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) through its Healthy Kids, Healthy Families initiative.

The generous grant will go toward funding a pilot program in San Antonio focused on creating an effective and scalable model to serve every child designated under Permanent Managing Conservatorship (PMC) across the state—children in long-term foster care who have been permanently removed from their homes, with little chance of ever rejoining their families. Child Advocates San Antonio, Texas CASA’s local program and project partner, plans to create customized training and recruitment strategies to attract long-term volunteers as well as provide a volunteer for each PMC child or sibling group in Bexar County.

“Because of our commitment to providing quality advocacy for children in the child welfare system, we are now partnering with BCBSTX, whose Healthy Kids, Healthy Families vision is to help improve the health of youth in local communities,” said Texas CASA CEO Vicki Spriggs.

“We’re proud to give our support to Texas CASA as a Healthy Kids, Healthy Families partner,” said Catherine Oliveros, Director, Community Affairs, BCBSTX. “Through its work, we expect to see measurable improvement in the health of children in long-term foster care by developing a new model with future goals that include statewide rollout as well as subsequent national implementation of the program.”

Healthy Kids, Healthy Families began as a three-year initiative that aimed to pull together local, state and national resources in an effort to make a significant impact on childhood health and wellness. Now it is a signature initiative of BCBSTX and part of its ongoing commitment to invest in Texas communities. Through this grant, Texas CASA and Child Advocates San Antonio hope to establish a replicable and sustainable model that will recruit and train volunteers to better serve children in long-term foster care, and can later be implemented in other CASA programs in Texas and across the nation.

“Thanks to the generous grant from BCBSTX, we will be able to address the urgent need to provide a CASA volunteer for every child in long-term foster care in Texas,” said Spriggs. “Our commitment is to improve the lives of these children by giving them the support and guidance they need to become successful members of the community.”

About Texas CASA

Austin-based Texas CASA is the statewide association of 71 local CASA programs. More than 7,600 well-trained volunteers served nearly 23,600 children in 207 of the 254 Texas counties in 2013. Texas CASA provides funding, training and technical assistance to the staff, board and volunteers of the 71 member programs.

CASA volunteers are regular people who have chosen to speak up for abused and neglected children in their communities. They are screened and trained, then appointed by the court to advocate for the best interests of a child or sibling group in the foster care system. Often the CASA volunteer is the one constant in a child’s life while he or she goes through the over-burdened foster care system. CASA volunteers work to move the children through foster care and into safe permanent homes as quickly as possible. More than half the children in foster care do not have CASA volunteers.

About Child Advocates San Antonio

The mission of Child Advocates San Antonio (CASA) is to recruit, train and supervise court-appointed volunteer advocates who provide constancy for abused and neglected children and youth while advocating for services and placement in safe and permanent homes. CASA’s overall organizational goal for fiscal year 2015 (July 1, 2014-June 30, 2015) is to serve 1,950 children by mobilizing a record-breaking 565 community volunteers. The efforts of CASA’s volunteer advocates help ensure Bexar County’s foster children are receiving the necessary medical, developmental and educational attention they need.

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) – the only statewide, customer-owned health insurer in Texas – is the largest provider of health benefits in the state, working with nearly 80,000 physicians and 500 hospitals to serve 5 million members in all 254 counties. BCBSTX is a Division of Health Care Service Corporation (which operates Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in Texas, Illinois, Montana, Oklahoma and New Mexico), the country’s largest customer-owned health insurer and fourth largest health insurer overall. Health Care Service Corporation is a Mutual Legal Reserve Company and an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.