Every Child Deserves a Loving Home This Valentine’s DayPublished: February 04, 2017
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While many children eagerly await candy and cards this Valentine’s Day, children in the child welfare system wait for something much more permanent – a loving home.
Last year, more than 17,000 children were removed from their homes due to evidence of abuse or neglect and placed in the child welfare system. These children are often placed far away from their friends and family and forced to navigate the system on their own. CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteers are everyday members of the community that are specially trained and appointed by judges to advocate for the best interests of children in foster care. A CASA volunteer’s main goal is to help move the child out of the temporary foster care system and into a safe, permanent home as quickly as possible.
Lone Star CASA is one of the 72 CASA programs in Texas that recruit, screen and train these volunteers to advocate for children in court.
“If children in foster care don’t have a consistent adult to guide them, it’s easy for them to get lost in the chaos of the child welfare system,” said Lucille Bell, Executive Director of Lone Star CASA. “Our volunteers make sure this doesn’t happen by speaking up for these children in court and ensuring that their voices are heard.”
CASA volunteers get to know the child personally and speak with everyone involved in the child’s life. They learn about the child’s physical, educational and emotional needs so that they can make well-informed placement recommendations to the court.
CASA volunteers advocate first and foremost for reunification with the child’s immediate family,” said Bell. “But when that’s not an option, they work to place the child in a loving adoptive home.”
In 2015, more than 47,000 Texas children were in the child welfare system. Roughly half of these children did not have a CASA volunteer, and many of them were left to navigate the system without a consistent adult to help them.
Last year, 80 CASA volunteers served 170 children in the child welfare system in Kaufman and Rockwall counties. As children are removed from their homes, there is a greater need for more CASA volunteers. “Every child deserves to have a safe, permanent and loving home this Valentine’s Day,” said Bell. “Every child has a chance – It’s YOU!”
For more information, visit www.lonestarcasa,org or call 972-772-5858. The next Information Sessions will be in mid-March with training beginning in May.
Submitted by Vickie Nettleton
Lone Star CASA of Rockwall & Kaufman Counties