By Vicki Spriggs, Texas CASA CEO
When we look back on our childhood, many of us can point to key people who encouraged, guided and supported us, and helped us get where we are today. Too often, though, the children we serve in the foster care system are forced to go through an incredibly difficult time in their lives while far away from their family, friends and mentors.
Due to the nature of the system, once these children are removed from their homes, they tend to move from placement to placement. Their caseworkers, and the other professionals in their lives tasked with protecting them, tend to change. They’re surrounded by people, but they often feel they can’t trust and believe that these people will stick around. They miss their family, friends and home community. They feel alone.
These children need a dedicated advocate. They need someone on their side, who will stick with them throughout their case and help them feel safe and connected. If you become a CASA volunteer, that person can be you.
CASA volunteers are specially trained and appointed by judges to advocate for a child or sibling group while they are in the foster care system. They advocate for the child in court, school and other settings; and get to know everyone involved in the child’s life, including their parents, foster parents, teachers, doctors, family members and others.
CASA volunteers advocate first and foremost for children to be reunified with their parents whenever safe and possible. When reunification is not an option, they may advocate for the child to live with another relative or family friend. They can also advocate for the child to be placed in an adoptive home. In all cases, the CASA volunteer is a steadfast, consistent presence for the children they serve, making sure they are safe and have the resources and connections they need to grow and thrive.
Our new PSA, “It Can Be You,” highlights how a CASA volunteer can be an important person to offer the connection and consistency children need during this critical turning point in their lives.
With training and support from your local CASA program, you can be someone who is by a child’s side during their time in foster care—helping ensure they are safe and well, and that they are set up for a successful and happy future. Every child has a chance—it’s you. ®
Learn more at BecomeACASA.org.
Thank you for all that you do, and for your commitment to a safe, positive future for all Texas children.