CASA of Central Texas seeking volunteers
CASA of Central Texas is seeking community members to become advocates for children who have been removed from their homes because of abuse and neglect. Enrollment is open now for August volunteer training courses.
Highly trained and supported CASA volunteers – Court Appointed Special Advocates – are empowered as voices in the child protection courts, in schools, and in the child welfare system to ensure representation of each child’s best interests. CASA volunteers envision a world where every child thrives in a safe, stable, loving home.Bob Williams, CASA Volunteer
CASA volunteers come from all backgrounds with different experiences and CASA of Central Texas provides the necessary training.
“CASA volunteers explain to the child the events that are happening, why they are in foster care, and the roles the judge, attorneys, and caseworkers play. Advocates offer the children what no one else can: consistency and continuity in the midst of all the chaos the children are experiencing.” Executive Director Norma Castilla-Blackwell said. “In the course of a typical case, the child will experience several foster placements, new schools, caseworker turnover and one Advocate. The trust that is built allows the CASA to encourage the children to express their feelings and to feel safe. All the while the advocates remain objective observers.”
More volunteers are needed in Caldwell, Comal, Guadalupe and Hays Counties. Castilla-Blackwell said becoming a CASA volunteer is a way to make a direct impact in your community one child at a time.
“We assign our volunteers to one case at a time, to make sure the children receive the attention they need. But, that means we are only serving as many children as we have volunteers,” Castilla-Blackwell said. “We need more volunteers to reach our goal of serving 100 percent of the children who are currently in the state’s care.”
In 2020, CASA of Central Texas served 600 children (roughly 54% of children in State Care) with 267 volunteers.
The Honorable Thomas Stuckey, Associate Judge, Child Protection Court, said he would like to see more child advocates in his courtroom.
“In my 5+ years on the bench as a judge now I have witnessed the positive impact the CASA volunteers and advocates have on the children and the families in this court,“ he said at a recent swearing-in of new CASA volunteers. “I would like to have a CASA volunteer on every case.”
Current CASA Volunteer Bob Williams encourages others to sign up for training and become an advocate.
“You will bring to bear all the experience of your lifetime in advocating for your child within the various agencies and with involved people. The judge will depend on you for informed advice on the best welfare for the child. You will be the eyes and ears of the court,” he said. “Do it! Volunteer! Be a CASA!”
Free training courses, both in person and via Zoom, will be held in August. Visit www.casacentex.org for more information and to complete a volunteer application.