OUR COMMUNITY PARTNERS
CASA of Travis County
Trauma-Informed Care in the Foster Care System
CASA of Travis County promotes and protects the best interests of abused and neglected children by training volunteers to advocate for them in courts, schools, and the community. CASA helps these children find safe, permanent, loving homes. CASA will use their Impact Austin grant for a new project, “Trauma-Informed Care in the Foster Care System,” intended to improve and standardize the level of skills for providers through a collaborative training system developed at Texas Christian University.
The overarching goal of this collaboration is to help foster youth healing more quickly from the trauma of abuse and neglect by surrounding them with volunteers and child care professionals trained in the principles of Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI). The main principles of this approach focus on identifying, understanding, and responding to the child's needs rather than their behavior, and this project will provide necessary training to volunteers and community partners.
Currently, seven CASA staff are trained as TBRI Educators, 34 staff members are trained in TBRI and, during year two, the organization trained roughly 160 volunteers, greatly surpassing their goal of training 60-80.
The TBRI training has greatly helped outcomes for the organization by providing:
Stronger client services after reviewing approximately 300 children’s cases for trauma and making recommendations for trauma-informed advocacy and services;
Improved volunteer retention as volunteers feel better able to help their young clients;
Better outcomes as judges and the courts now frequently request that CASA make recommendations for specific TBRI-trained service providers; and
Enhanced backgrounds for judicial decision making with children’s timelines and backgrounds developed by CASA now being trauma informed and giving a fuller, more holistic perspective on the child.
For one little boy named Harold, the TBRI training of his CASA advocate had an especially profound impact on his life. Harold and his siblings were in foster care and Harold was receiving care from a therapist not trained in TBRI techniques that was not able to truly address the causes of his frequent tantrums and outbursts. By CASA switching Harold to a therapist skilled in TBRI techniques, he’s been able to gain control of his behavior and open up to forming positive relationships. Following the legal termination of parental rights by the court, Harold and his siblings are being adopted by a new family, an adoption that likely would not have happened if his therapist and CASA advocate had not been able to help his adoptive parents understand and use trauma- based care to help Harold transition to a new life.