Take the first step to becoming a CASA advocate:


As I look back on 2022, it seems that it was a year of transition; for our staff, volunteers, and even our community and population in general. While we were no longer quarantined, we were still cautious and concerned with our health and utilizing many new methods adopted during COVID restrictions.

Throughout 2022, CASA for Kids of East Texas continued to serve ALL children assigned to the organization by family courts. Individual children’s needs increased with more families needing assistance with food, clothing, school supplies, and Christmas. The organization was able to fulfill all those needs as a result of the generosity of donors.

Recently, the Texas Legislature amended the definition of “neglect,” resulting in less child removal state-wide and, subsequently, a reduction in assignments to CASA for Kids of East Texas in 2022. The organization lost some long-term volunteers due to death, health concerns, moves, or other changes in their life journeys. The staff recruited and trained 43 new volunteers, but the need for more volunteers remains a major priority for 2023.

All renovations on the new facility were completed, boasting a large conference area, Children’s Center with a visitation room, a playground, and a library. Multiple meeting areas provide outstanding space for collaboration.

The staff and board are now focusing on how we can provide the best possible advocacy for our children through assessing our mission and vision and creating strategic goals and action plans. We remain committed to serving as the voice for children while striving for a permanent and safe home. While working towards that resolution, we identify unmet basic needs and work to fulfill those needs. Sometimes that is food, and sometimes it’s a coat, and sometimes it’s a stuffed animal or snuggly blanket. Other times, it’s cleats so a child can be part of a sports team, finding security and acceptance through peer association. Whatever that looks like for each child, we strive to fulfill that need.

If your interests fit our vision and work, please get in touch with us to explore ways to meet children’s needs and restore a bit of hope, trust, self-esteem, and love.

2022 Summary
        • 596 children served
        • 43 new volunteers recruited, trained, and worked with children
        • 111 children reunified with parent(s)
        • 64 children adopted
        • 14 children aged out of foster care and assisted with transitioning into adulthood
        • 406 gift cards distributed to help meet the needs of children and families
        • 1,381 items (coats, socks, hygiene items, blankets, toys, etc.) distributed JUST between 11/29/23 and 12/31/22
        • Children’s outdoor playground installed
        • A new program was successfully launched to help youth prepare for and transition out of foster care into adulthood as they age out

Mary Jo Burgess, Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer