Nobody longs for a safe and loving family more than a child in foster care. Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteers are empowered by the courts to help make this dream a reality.
CASA Volunteers get to know each child by talking with everyone in that child’s life: parents and relatives, foster parents, teachers, medical professionals, attorneys, social workers and others. They use the information they gather to inform judges and others of what the child needs and what will be the best permanent home for them.
The Court Appointed Special Advocate program works to train and support advocates who will ensure that the foster youth in our community receive the support services that they deserve. CASA volunteers stand up for a child in the courtroom and champion for their rights to a safe and permanent home, healthcare and education, and connections within the community that will follow them even after they have left foster care. Volunteers are everyday citizens with a common desire to improve the quality of life for a child who has been removed from his or her family due to abuse or neglect.
You do not have to be a lawyer or a social worker to be a volunteer. “We welcome people from all walks of life. We are simply looking for people who care about children and have common sense,” said Leigh Davis, CASA for Children Development Director. As a volunteer, you will be thoroughly trained and well supported by professional staff to help you through each case.
CASAs work with caregivers, social workers, teachers, lawyers, and more to strive for outcomes that support the best interest of each youth. Our volunteers commit to a 30 hour training program and a minimum of 12 months of work. Each month, 8 to 10 hours are spent visiting with and advocating for a youth. The time spent as a volunteer advocate can provide some of the most rewarding experiences filled with new challenges, surprises, and self-discovery.
Last year, 395 children in foster care had a CASA volunteer speak up for their best interest in southwest Arkansas and northeast Texas. There are twice as many children still waiting for a CASA to advocate for their needs. CASA for Children seeks to provide each youth with a consistent and caring adult through the help of the community. A child with a CASA is half as likely to re-renter the foster care system and more likely to succeed in school.
CASAs are often the only supportive, stable person in a child’s life that he or she can count on. Advocates dedicate their time to increasing the chances for a child in foster care to thrive.
For more information about how you can help be the voice for a child in foster care, attend the following information session at the Atlanta Library, 101 W. Hiram Street in Atlanta on Monday, July 10th, 9:30am – 12:00pm. You can also find more information at www.casatexarkana.org, www.becomeaCASA.org or by calling your local CASA office at 903-792-1030.