Texas CASA is committed to ensuring that all funds – private and public – are spent effectively, efficiently and appropriately. We welcome the opportunity to discuss what we do to ensure that happens.
Texas CASA is the voluntary membership association of 69 local independent CASA programs that serve children in 206 counties in Texas. Each CASA program is an independent 501(c)3 with its own governing board which hires the executive director and oversees the program’s budget and operations. Texas CASA does not have the authority to hire or fire any staff at the local program level.
To ensure that all funds allocated for CASA are spent appropriately, Texas CASA has implemented a three-part system to identify potential problems that local CASA programs may experience.
1) Mandatory Board Officer Training - The Texas Office of the Attorney General requires as a condition of funding that each local CASA board of directors send a board officer each year to a training provided by Texas CASA. That training includes educating board officers on their duties and responsibilities, particularly fiduciary responsibilities. The training also informs them of best practices in finance and operations.
2) Quality Assurance Reviews - During biennial quality assurance reviews of each local CASA program, Texas CASA examines policies and procedures and reviews financial and operational practices to ensure that best practices are being followed in those areas.
3) Independent Financial Audits - Texas CASA requires each program to conduct an annual independent audit by a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) as a condition of receiving state and federal funds that pass through Texas CASA. These audits are submitted to Texas CASA for review.
If a local program does not send a board officer to the mandatory training, if a program is found out of compliance during the QA process and/or if the program does not conduct and submit its required independent audit, funds can – and have been – withheld until the program comes into compliance.
As a result of this three-part system of checks, some of the issues mentioned have come to light. When they have, Texas CASA has reported to appropriate local, state and federal authorities that possible inappropriate expenditures have been identified.
When a CASA program or a concerned stakeholder notifies Texas CASA of possible fraud, misuse of funds or other irregularities, Texas CASA will place the program on financial hold and request the local board contract with an independent certified forensic auditor to conduct a forensic audit. The continuation of the program’s grant funding is determined only after the forensic audit is completed and submitted to and accepted by Texas CASA.
Texas CASA works with the local board of directors to implement safeguards and reduce risks so that public and private funds are used efficiently, effectively and according to the grantors’ and donors’ wishes.
Texas CASA is committed to ensuring that all resources are expended appropriately so that children in foster care receive the highest quality of advocacy.