CASA of Williamson County, which recruits, trains and supports volunteers who advocate for children in the child protection system, will begin the search for a new executive director as current Executive Director Alisa De Luna joins CASA of Travis County on July 11th.
“It is with a mix of excitement and sadness that we announce the resignation of our Executive Director Alisa De Luna,” said Brian King, president of the CASA of Williamson County Board of Directors. “Alisa has been our executive director since 2010 and she has skillfully led our CASA organization with energy and class. Together we have witnessed a myriad accomplishments under her determined leadership and steadfast guidance.”
Ms. De Luna has accepted the position of Senior Director of Community Initiatives at CASA of Travis County, another of the 72 CASA organizations in Texas that last year served more than 1,800 children with nearly 650 volunteers. She will oversee recruitment and training, inclusiveness and diversity initiatives, legislative advocacy and other community requests as designated.
When Ms. De Luna first joined CASA of Williamson County, the organization had 12 volunteers and served 22 children in CPS care. Under Ms. De Luna’s leadership, the program has grown to 103 volunteers who in 2015 served 186 children. “The program is on track to reach over 50 percent of the total number of children in CPS care in Williamson County, approximately 225 children, by August”, said Ms. De Luna.
The organization’s goal is to serve 100 percent of Williamson County children who enter CPS care with CASA volunteers. Currently, that number is 433.
“She helped us grow an organization for those children in CPS care who were not being served,” said Janet Davenport, former chair of the CASA of Williamson County Board of Directors and a member of the search committee that recommended Ms. De Luna as executive director in 2010. “Now we are serving the needs of those children and she’s one of the main reasons we are,” adding that Ms. De Luna’s passion for the CASA mission has been a key factor in her success as the agency’s leader.
“I am incredibly appreciative of the opportunity to lead CASA of Williamson County,” said Ms. De Luna. “There is no doubt in my mind that the next step for CASA of Williamson County will be 100 percent of the children in CPS care being served with the highest quality of advocacy in the state.”
When a child enters the child protection system because his or her home is no longer safe, a judge may appoint a committed volunteer to help them. That volunteer is called a Court Appointed Special Advocate®, or CASA.
CASA volunteers are screened and highly trained and then appointed by judges to represent and advocate for a child’s best interests in the child protection system. CASA volunteers are each assigned to help one child or set of siblings at a time, so they can focus on giving that child or sibling group the individualized advocacy and attention they need. CASA volunteers save taxpayers money and children’s futures by helping children reach safe, permanent homes as soon as possible.
“On behalf of the Board of Directors, we thank Alisa for her service to the organization and the children of Williamson County,” said Mr. King. “Together with our family of staff and volunteers we have built a top-notch and highly respected CASA program.”
“Melia Graber, program director for CASA of Williamson County, will serve as interim executive director while the board goes through the search process”, Mr. King said.
The board has assembled a search committee to begin the process of finding a replacement for Ms. De Luna.