CASA wants volunteers in fight against child abuse

Current CASA volunteer, Yolanda Flores of Hays County, with the children on her case. CASA volunteers are appointed to children who are confirmed victims of abuse or neglect to independently investigate the case and recommend to the family court judge what is in the best interest of the child. They often serve as the only consistent adult in the child’s life. (photo by Kim Hilsenbeck)

Current CASA volunteer, Yolanda Flores of Hays County, with the children on her case. CASA volunteers are appointed to children who are confirmed victims of abuse or neglect to independently investigate the case and recommend to the family court judge what is in the best interest of the child. They often serve as the only consistent adult in the child’s life. (courtesy photo)

by KIM HILSENBECK

CASA of Central Texas invites Hays County residents to get involved in the fight against child abuse by training to become a Court Appointed Special Advocate.

CASA of Central Texas advocates for abused and neglected children in the community by recruiting, training, and supporting community volunteers. CASA volunteers are appointed to children who are confirmed victims of abuse or neglect to independently investigate the case and provide recommendations to the family court judge, what is in the best interest of the child. They often serve as the only consistent adult in the child’s life.

More volunteers are needed in Caldwell, Comal, Guadalupe and Hays counties, according to CASA of Central Texas Executive Director Norma Castilla-Blackwell. She said becoming a CASA volunteer is a way to make a direct impact in the 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,” Castilla-Blackwell said. “But, that means we are only serving as many children as we have volunteers. We need more volunteers to reach our goal of serving 100 percent of the children who are currently in the state’s care.”

The next session of free advocate trainings will begin in mid-July and will be held in both the San Marcos and New Braunfels CASA locations. Classes meet once a week for five weeks.

In 2012, CASA of Central Texas served 372 children in Caldwell, Comal, Guadalupe and Hays counties but there were an estimated 400 or more additional children who did not have the voice of a CASA volunteer. To learn more about CASA or volunteer training, please contact CASA at (512) 392-3578 or (830) 626-2272, or visit www.casacentex.org.

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