CASA in the Heart of Texas celebrates 20 years of service

Child advocacy group Kicks off anniversary campaign March 9

Special to the Bulletin
CASA in the Heart of Texas

This year CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) in the Heart of Texas is celebrating its 20th Anniversary of serving children in the foster care system. Serving Brown, Comanche and Mills counties, CASA’s mission is to “passionately support the overall well-being and best interests of children in the foster care system and effectively collaborate with their families and other support systems”.

To celebrate their Anniversary, CASA is launching a campaign to help achieve their vision to advocate for EVERY child in the foster care system in our area. CASA’s Executive Director Michelle Wells stated that “CASA is committed to the children in our three counties and we are working to grow as an organization so that each child has an Advocate devoted to supporting their well-being. Achieving this goal is what our 20th Anniversary Campaign is all about”. The Campaign Kick Off for Brown County is scheduled for Tuesday, at 11:45 AM on March 9 on the steps of the Brown County Courthouse. The public is welcome to attend.

Currently CASA’s greatest need is for additional volunteer Advocates. There are far more children in the foster care system than CASA has the resources to support and that number is growing. Executive Director Wells reported that in Brown, Comanche, and Mills counties, CASA is only able to support 30% of the children that Child Protective Services has assigned to the foster care system – leaving almost 250 children without a dedicated Advocate to support their well-being and best interests.

CASA relies on its well-trained team of committed volunteer Advocates who are sworn in by the court to serve as court appointed guardians for children who have suffered from abuse or neglect. These passionate Advocates are often the only stability in the child’s life. Caseworkers and caregivers often change, but once assigned to a case, CASA Advocates stay with their child until they have a permanent home. “As a CASA volunteer, we are those kids’ stability in the midst of a tumultuous situation” stated Brown County volunteer Advocate Ann Jones. “The world they have always known is in upheaval and people are coming and going from their life, but as a CASA Advocate, we are their constant person. We provide stability in the midst of their crisis.”

Advocates support children by doing everything from ensuring their physical and mental health needs are met, meeting with their teachers to help make sure they are doing well in school, helping screen foster and adoptive families to be sure they are a good fit for children, coordinating and sharing information among agencies to promote the child’s well-being, appearing in court to testify on behalf of each child’s best interests and being a regular, trusted presence for children. “As a CASA volunteer, you get to see the big picture of all the people in their lives and then speak up for them on their behalf” said Advocate Jones.

To achieve their vision of serving EVERY child, CASA is asking individuals and communities to help promote the CASA mission and to help recruit additional volunteer Advocates. There are different ways to do this such as volunteering to be an Advocate, sharing information about CASA with someone you think would be a passionate Advocate or volunteering to be a “CASA Champion” and posting CASA information on local social media sites. You can also contact CASA to host an informational meeting for your group or organization to learn how your group might partner with CASA. You may also choose to support CASA with a charitable gift to the non-profit. Donations will be used towards the well-being of the children CASA is supporting. For additional information on how you can help in “Making a Difference One Child at a Time” visit https://casabrownwood.org.