CASA of West Texas Calls for More Volunteers During National Child Abuse Prevention Month

April 12, 2018

MIDLAND — April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and CASA of West Texas is raising awareness about child abuse and neglect and the need for more dedicated members of the community to step up and become CASA volunteers.

When a child is placed in the foster care system due to abuse or neglect, they are often removed from their home and placed in state care – sometimes far away from their family, loved ones and community. CASA volunteers, or Court Appointed Special Advocates, are everyday people from all walks of life who are recruited and specially trained to advocate for these children and provide a consistent, reliable adult presence for them during a difficult time in their life.

“In addition to the trauma they have already experienced due to the initial abuse or neglect, foster care can take a toll on children,” said Patty Pisklak, Executive Director of CASA of West Texas. “They need an advocate who will get to know them, speak up for them and ensure their needs are met while they are in the system, and that is what our volunteers provide.”

CASA volunteers are assigned to one child or sibling group to advocate for their best interest in court, in school and in other settings. They get to know the child and everyone involved in their life, such as family members, foster parents, therapists and teachers, in order to develop a realistic picture of the child’s unique situation. They make recommendations to the judge overseeing the child’s case, with the goal of ensuring that the child is safe and has the resources needed to heal.

According to the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), there were 22 confirmed victims of child abuse or neglect and a total of 38 children in the child protection system from Gaines County last year.

“Even one child victim of abuse or neglect is too many, and it is critical that we continue to raise awareness of this issue in our community and nationwide,” said Pisklak. “But becoming a CASA volunteer is a way to take it beyond just awareness, and do your part to help break the cycle for future generations.”   

Statewide, the CASA movement is growing faster than ever before. Last year, the 71 CASA programs in Texas recruited a milestone total of 10,424 CASA volunteers to advocate for 29,747 children. This was a 14-percent increase in volunteers recruited, and nearly double the growth rate from the previous year.

Locally, CASA of West Texas served 483 children in the foster care system from a seven county region including Midland, Glasscock, Martin, Howard, Dawson, Gaines, and Andrews Counties in 2017.  There are still more children who need someone to speak up for them.
This year, consider stepping up to make a difference for these children by becoming a CASA volunteer.

“We at CASA of West Texas always hope for the day when CASA and a national month dedicated to child abuse prevention are no longer needed because all children have the safe, loving home they deserve,” said Pisklak. “Until then, we will continue to seek more members of the community to join our growing movement, and we will not rest until we can provide a CASA volunteer for every child who needs one.”

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. If you see abuse, report it to 1(800) 252-5400 or go to www.txabusehotline.org. If a child’s life is in danger, call 911. For more information about how you can become a CASA visit www.casawtx.org or call (432) 683-1114.

The next volunteer pre-service training is scheduled for June 4, 2018 in Midland.  

To register for the upcoming volunteer training you must complete a volunteer application which can be found at www.casawtx.org.

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Category: Updates