Television/Radio Host and Best-Selling Author Tavis Smiley Issues Call for Volunteers to Serve Children in Need at the 2016 Texas CASA Conference

AUSTIN, Texas–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Tavis Smiley, New York Times best-selling author and host of the
late-night television show Tavis Smiley on PBS and The Tavis
Smiley Show
from Public Radio International (PRI), is lending his
voice to support Texas CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) in
creating positive change in the lives of foster children. Smiley served
as the opening keynote speaker at the 2016 Texas CASA Conference held in
Dallas, Texas, at which he issued a call for the recruitment of
additional community volunteers to serve as powerful voices for
vulnerable children navigating the child protection system.

Volunteers, staff and board members from local CASA programs
participated in the conference to enhance their training, leadership and
advocacy skills as they seek to serve children across the state. Smiley
contributed to the agenda by sharing his personal experience on how he
overcame obstacles that threatened to derail his life. Thanks in part to
mentors in his life, Smiley was able to carve out a role in the world
where today he is a recognized champion for human rights and empowerment
issues and is committed to inspiring the next generation of leaders. It
is in this role that Smiley called upon participants of the Texas CASA
Conference to join in fueling a powerful movement in which CASA
volunteers are actively sharing their stories with others in the
community to increase the recruitment of volunteers. The goal is to
ensure that every Texas child in foster care, who is in need of a
volunteer, has one.

When a child enters foster care because his or her home is no longer
safe, a CASA volunteer can be appointed by a judge to represent a
child’s best interests. A volunteer guides a foster child through the
overburdened and complex child protection system with the goal of
reaching a safe and permanent home. Volunteers spend a significant
amount of time with the child getting to know them and their individual

The work of a CASA volunteer also involves gathering information from
everyone involved in a child’s daily life, including family members,
foster parents, teachers, doctors and social workers. CASA volunteers
use the information they collect to report to the judge, advocating for
the child’s physical, emotional and educational needs. They are not
foster parents; they are highly trained community advocates acting as a
powerful voice for a child or sibling group.

Smiley’s keynote address at the conference spoke to how powerful voices,
coming together as one, can create a lasting impact in the lives of
children which creates a community where no child is overlooked or

How to Help

To learn how you can help children in your community, find your local
CASA program at Volunteers must be 21 years of age or
older and willing to commit to at least one year of advocacy. No special
educational background or experience is required.

About Texas CASA

Austin-based Texas CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) is the
statewide organization of 72 local CASA programs that recruit and train
volunteers to advocate for children in the child protection system. Last
year, 9,131 well-trained volunteers served 27,953 children in 213 of the
254 Texas counties. Texas CASA supports the local CASA programs by
advocating for effective public policy for children in the child
protection system and by providing funding, training and technical
assistance to program staff, board and volunteers.

CASA volunteers are everyday members of the community doing
extraordinary work by choosing 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. CASA volunteers work to move
the children through foster care and into safe, permanent homes as
quickly as possible.


GDC Marketing & Ideation
Marcie Casas, 210-236-5000
Relations Director
CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates)

Leslie Morton,
Training & Communications Director