CASA of Collin County Earns $100K Award

On May 10 Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Collin County was awarded a $100,000 donation from Reliant Energy to support its mission of helping local foster children.

“This will help us ensure that a hundred percent of the children who end up in foster care because of abuse and neglect are served,” CASA of Collin County Executive Director Tricia Clifton said.

The financial boost could not have come at a better time. In 2017, CASA served 555 children in Collin County. This year, they had already helped 430 by the beginning of May.

“Collin County is growing by leaps and bounds. Unfortunately with that rise of population comes a rise in cases,” Tricia said.

CASA was established in 1994 to serve the needs of children who have been removed from their homes. District court judges typically appoint a CASA volunteer to serve as a child’s official advocate in court. The CASA representative works to move the case along as quickly as possible. The ultimate goal is to reunite the child with family when possible or to find a permanent loving home.

The money received from Reliant will help CASA create stability and plan further out. It will also be used to train additional volunteers, add staff and purchase training tools.

Tricia Clifton started as executive director in April. Not long after her first day, she learned that CASA was one of approximately 20 organizations nominated for the award. A committee at Reliant then narrowed the field down to three, and announced a weeklong online vote to determine the winner.

CASA was in the lead after the fist two days of voting. By noon on the last day, they had fallen to second. Tricia assumed that since CASA was a smaller organization, they would probably end up with the $20,000 runner-up award. When she learned they had actually won the big prize, she burst into tears.

“We were doing everything we could to get the vote out, but I was just sure they had a bigger force,” she said. “We pulled it off. It was nothing short of amazing.”

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