Every year the Texas Department of Child Protective Services removes thousands of Texas children from their homes because of severe abuse, neglect, or domestic violence. These victimized children are subjected to criminal justice and child welfare systems that are poorly funded and equipped to deal with the special needs and concerns of raising foster care children. Eventually, they end up in court. These children are victims, yet they will be sentenced to months or years in state custody. Child abuse is heart breaking. But imagine the fear of these young victims as they move through the maze of a judicial system that will decide their futures.
In 2008, 1,107 children were placed in foster care and foster care costs in Central Texas exceeded more than $6.9 million dollars. (DFPS 2005 Data Book). Based on these statistics the communities recognize the need for a CASA program. The role of the CASA volunteer is to represent the best interest of abused and/or neglected children in court. A CASA volunteer provides the judge with a carefully researched background of the child to help the court make sound decisions about the child’s future. The CASA volunteer must determine if it is in the child’s best interest to stay with his or her parents or guardians, stay in foster care, be placed with relatives, or be freed for adoption. The CASA volunteer does not provide legal representation, however does provide crucial background that may assist attorney’s in presenting their cases. This role is defined by the program and supported by the court. The court recognizes CASA volunteers as guardian ad litems.
Help a foster child, become a CASA today. YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE ONE CHILD AT A TIME! Please see the calendar for training classes, times, and places.