Child Advocates was originally incorporated March 31, 1983 under the name of Wichita Foundation for Children’s Services Inc., and was called Foster Child Advocacy Services or FOCAS, which was ‘borrowed’ from the Dallas CASA program. In 1991 the organization began to be called Child Advocates.
Child Advocates was the second CASA program to be established in Texas. The program was developed based on the CASA pilot program in Dallas, which was established in 1979. Child Advocates originated as a two-year pilot program funded by the Texas Department of Human Resources in 1982, and CASA volunteers have been active since 1983. In 1984, the Junior League of Wichita Falls provided $30,000 to keep the program in operation until 1986, when funding was obtained from other sources.
Child Advocates receives its current funding from various sources. Child Advocates has been a Hands to Hands Member since 2009. Since 1990, Child Advocates has received federal funding from the Victims of Crime Act grant, which is administered by the Criminal Justice Division. Texas CASA began distributing grant monies from the Office of the Attorney General in 1993. Donations from foundations, individuals, service clubs, and organizations have always been and will continue to be an important part of Child Advocates’ financial backing.
Child Advocates has received statewide recognition. In 1991, one of our volunteers, Alice Gordon, was named Volunteer of the Year for the state of Texas. She was selected from over 1200 volunteers in the state. J.C. Penney and the Junior League of Wichita Falls honored the agency with the Golden Rule Award in 1991, and again in 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1996. This honor named Child Advocates the agency of the year for 1992 and 1996. At the 1993 state CASA Convention in Austin Child Advocates was honored, with roses, for bringing the most volunteers to the conference (12 volunteers and two staff). Child Advocates volunteer; Diane Thueson was a runner up for the Golden Rule Volunteer of the year in 1994. In 1995 Child Advocates won the “The Best of Texas” award for excellence in working with children. In 1996, the program won the “Exemplary National Program in Juvenile Delinquency Prevention,” by the U.S. Department of Justice. In 1997, Teri Oswald, the Executive Director of Child Advocates won the “Texas Court Appointed Special Advocate Program, Director of the Year.”