A new coordinator has been named for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of South Central Missouri in Texas County.  

Cabool resident Samantha Banks assumes her duties on Tuesday serving CASA and the children the organization represents.

Banks has worked with children and families for more than 14 years, and has also served in churches and been a part of several ministries and outreaches with children. 

Banks graduated with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, psychology and sociology from Drury University in 2009. During her time of studies, she maintained three positions working for the YMCA as director of the after-school care program, Cabool Schools as a substitute teacher and Cabool Enterprise as a mailer/labeler.

After her undergraduate studies, Banks continued her three part-time positions and added a fourth, working as an academic adviser for Drury University. In October 2011, she sought full-time employment and was hired as a children’s service worker for Howell County Children’s Division where she spent a year-and-a-half as an alternative care case manager for children in foster care. Since April 2013, Banks has worked as a child advocate and medical assistant at the South Central Child Advocacy Center in West Plains. 

Banks said she is “very passionate about children’s safety and well-being” and is honored to continue her advocacy with CASA as the new volunteer coordinator for Texas County. A lifelong resident of Cabool, she is married to Daniel Banks, and they have a 22-month-old son, Perry. 

“We are excited to see how Samantha builds on the fantastic foundation that was built over the past four years in Texas County,” said Executive Director Matthew Evans. “She has expressed her willingness to continue to provide exceptional support for our volunteers and advocacy on behalf of the children we serve.  Being from Texas County myself, I am very proud of the way the CASA program has been run and the success we have continued to see with our volunteer recruitment and outreach in the county as a product of our past and present staff and the amazing advocates we have in these communities.”

Texas County launched its program in 2012, and Leigh Ann Sigman was instrumental in its success.

Banks comes on board as CASA continues to promote its “30 Men in 30 Days” campaign.  CASA is attempting to recruit 30 male volunteers to help provide for the male youth in foster care and in need of a voice in the court system.  An informational meeting is 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 18, at Miller’s Grill in Houston.  Appetizers will be provided and all members of the community (male and female) are welcome to come learn about CASA and the program’s mission.

For more information, email CASA outreach and recruitment coordinator Brock Whisler at or call 573-426-5437.

CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocates, is a national organization of volunteers that are appointed by judges to speak for the safety and well-being of abused and neglected children.  Texas County is part of the 25th Judicial Circuit in Missouri, which represents more than 600 children in the judicial system.  There almost 90 children in care in Texas County alone. Interested community members are encouraged to contact Brock Whisler at 573-202-8405, email or visit Sharron Vaughn at the Texas County CASA office on the first floor of the Texas County Justice Center.


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