Child advocacy group CASA launches 20th anniversary campaign

Special to the Bulletin
Retired 35th District Judge Stephen Ellis shares his thoughts about the importance of CASA to children in the foster care system.

On March 9, CASA in the Heart of Texas launched its 20th Anniversary Campaign on the steps of the Brown County Courthouse.

To celebrate their anniversary, CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) has launched a campaign to achieve their vision to be able to advocate for EVERY child in the foster care system in Brown, Comanche and Mills counties.

CASA volunteer advocates and staff, along with community partners including 35th District Judge Mike Smith and well-wishers from across Brown County, joined together for the event and to hear retired 35th District Judge Stephen Ellis talk about the importance of CASA to children in the foster care system and during the court process. 

“I wish there had been a CASA assigned to every case I heard – we need more of them,” Ellis said. "CASA’s role is so important because they are the one voice that stays with the child the entire time that they are the system. Because of this, the CASA report was the piece of the child’s file that was most important to me when hearing cases."

CASA’s mission is to “passionately support the well-being and best interests of children in the foster care system and effectively collaborate with their families and other support systems.”

To accomplish their mission, 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. 

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, unfortunately, that number is growing. Currently, there are many Brown County children in the foster care system who do not have a CASA advocate.

CASA advocates are a regular, trusted presence in the lives of children in the foster care system. They 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.

If you think you would like to help CASA in “Making a Difference one Child at a Time,” please visit https://casabrownwood.org/us/ . 

You may also call CASA at 325-643-2557 or email joanne@casahot.org. There are different ways to help 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 nonprofit. Donations will be used towards the well-being of the children CASA is supporting.