As part of March’s National Social Work Month celebration, Big Country CASA recognizes and thanks those who devote their lives to bettering the lives of others. Social workers strive to build a stronger community for all people, and CASA is a proud partner in the effort to secure a brighter future for children in the foster care system.
CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) programs collaborate with the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), Child Protective Services (CPS) and other key advocates in the child welfare system to ensure that children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect are placed in safe, permanent homes as quickly as possible.
“While social work covers a variety of areas, we are especially appreciative of those in the field who have been our partners in protecting abused and neglected children in the child welfare system,” said Angela Sharp, executive director of Big Country CASA.
CASA volunteers are appointed to advocate for children’s best interests in court. They come from all walks of life and backgrounds, but they all have one thing in common – a passion for helping children. They get to know the child personally and speak with everyone involved in the child’s life so that they can make well-informed and holistic placement recommendations to the court. Big Country CASA is one of the 72 CASA programs in Texas that recruits, screens and trains these volunteers.
“CASA and CPS share a common goal – to protect the unprotected,” said Sharp. “We all work to ensure that these vulnerable children’s needs are met while they are in foster care, and that they are placed in loving homes.”
More than 46,800 Texas children were in the child welfare system in 2014. A little more than half of these children had a CASA volunteer to advocate for their best interests.
When possible, CASA volunteers advocate for reunification with the child’s immediate family, said Sharp, but when reunification is not an option, they work with CPS to find the child a caring adoptive home.
“We dream of a day when CASA is no longer needed because every child has the forever home he or she deserves,” said Sharp. “But until then, Big Country CASA will continue to work tirelessly with CPS to create a better future for children in the child welfare system.”
Currently, 30 CASA volunteers are serving the children of Taylor County. Approximately 390 children are in foster care through the local Child Protective Services. Many children still need a volunteer to advocate for their best interests. Consider making a difference for these children by becoming a CASA volunteer.