What if your son or daughter no longer had you in their life to meet their physical and emotional needs? Who would stand in the gap? What if you could make a difference in the life of a child who has lost their parents, family, and support system? CASA of Travis County volunteers do just that – they stand in the gap and give children a voice. Let me introduce you to CASA of Travis County, one of the most innovative and impactful non-profit organizations that advocates for neglected and abused kids in our community.
CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate. When a child enters the care of CPS, a judge appoints them an advocate. CASA of Travis County happens to be the top CASA in the nation, and will serve 2,000 children in 2019. CASA volunteers work alongside the Travis County child welfare system to help thousands of kids in Texas get out of foster care and reunite with their families, or transition into adoptive families. To ensure that every child has an advocate, CASA of Travis County needs 300 new volunteers.
Anyone can be involved with making the world a better place for neglected and abused children through volunteering their time or resources. Why not you? CASA of Travis County will train you to advocate for children in courts, in schools and in the community. You’ll work alongside an experienced advocate to help you make recommendations for the child you represent, but you’ll be the eyes and ears and voice that bring crucial information to the attention of the judges. CASA volunteers are a powerful voice in a child’s life.
You don’t have to be a social worker or have any special background – CASA of Travis County is looking for people who are full of compassion and have the desire to make a big impact. They are not your typical volunteers, but are a diverse group in all life stages and from all walks of life. Many are moms like you with full time jobs and families of their own.
One CASA of Travis County volunteer said this “It’s worth every second that I give. It doesn’t crowd my life, it amplifies it.”
Foster care is near and dear to my heart. I have three amazing sons who my husband and I adopted from foster care in the state of Texas. While we were foster parents, we were assigned a CASA worker for the duration of each case. Our boys would not have found their forever family without the support our CASA workers gave us! Our CASA workers became not only our advocates but also our friends. They came to visit monthly and would show up with Christmas gifts for the boys or birthday presents. Of course we had social workers, court appointed lawyers, and judges who were making sure we followed the service plan outlined by the state, but they were focused on the legal stuff and weren’t always able to see the bonds or emotions that were impacted by the decisions being made for our foster children.
CASA, on the other hand, had an overarching perspective on the needs of the child, the foster/adoptive family, the biological family, and the court proceedings.
When I wasn’t legally able to attend bio-family visitations, our sweet CASA worker would sit with my boys and supervise while I waited anxiously in the car, near tears from the stress. She would text me updates that everything was going okay and she got us through. Our CASA advocates were able to see the big picture and influence the court in the best interest of our children. When our CPS caseworker changed for the fifth time in seven months and CPS wanted to move our foster baby boy to a different home, our CASA worker helped us intervene because we were the only home our youngest son had ever known and he had bonded with us. CASA gave us the opportunity to see the case through. Children can’t speak for themselves, but CASA volunteers had a voice in the courtroom and many times spoke on behalf of my foster boys. We’re so grateful for our team of CASA advocates that helped make our family possible!
You can learn more about the CASA of Travis County organization here:
Volunteer – www.casatravis.org/volunteer
Give – www.casatravis.org/donate
Powerful Voice Society – https://www.casatravis.org/giving_societies
Are you passionate about making a difference? Could you be an advocate for abused and neglected children?