By Chad Frymire, Partnerships and Projects Program Director at Dallas CASA

CASA Day at the Capitol February 16 was a chance for CASA programs across the state to come together with one voice to advocate for Texas children. It was a chance to spend the day in Austin telling lawmakers why we care about kids. It was a chance for lawmakers to hear about what we do, why we do it and how we think it could be better.

Most of all, it was a heartwarming day. Our lawmakers want to talk about helping kids. They want to hear how CASA can better serve children in need. And they really want to make a difference in the lives of Texas’ most vulnerable children.

This year, Dallas CASA took a staff program director, a two Board of Directors members and three of our most dedicated volunteers to CASA Day at the Capitol. Thankfully, we brought our walking shoes, too, because we had 11 meetings over a six-hour period all over the capitol building.

In one marathon session, we visited with the offices of senators Bob Hall, Kelly Hancock, Don Huffines, Van Taylor and Royce West, representatives Rafael Anchia, Cindy Burkett, Helen Giddings, Eric Johnson and Morgan Meyer and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.

Consistently, the message we heard was that legislators believe in the consistency CASA can provide for kids in care and that our legislators really care about foster children. They wanted to hear the stories of the kids we serve. They offered help and support. We felt heard and valued. At a time when concerns about the child welfare system continue to makes news, it was reassuring to be in the capitol building and heard during eleven meetings in a row. Legislators are prioritizing child welfare. They want to get this right.

If you’d like to follow along with the 85th Legislative Session, check out Texas CASA’s bill tracker. It will let you know where child welfare legislation stands.

CASA Day at the Capitol was a long day and a lot of steps, but the path through this legislative session looks promising.