Do you have room in your heart to help a child in dire need of a safe and loving family? You can be one of the only constant, familiar adults in a foster child’s life, and you will be his or her staunchest ally and advocate.
Who are we? CASA. Court Appointed Special Advocates. CASA volunteers are trained to speak up for the best interest of children in the foster care system. The key word here is special. A CASA volunteer has the unique opportunity to be a positive influence in a child’s life. Changing the direction of a young life is a miracle…a personally rewarding miracle.
In 2012 in Texas, 46.7% of the confirmed victims of abuse or neglect were of Hispanic/Latino origin. Three years later, these numbers have continued to increase with the growing population. In 2014, 16% of the children served by CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County were Hispanic/Latino, while only 5% of our volunteer Advocates were. We are in need of bilingual volunteers to help offset this imbalance in the system and our program.
Interacting directly with your child, you’ll learn all about his or her life. Capturing details is crucial in the process of serving as an Advocate. Bilingual volunteers (English/Spanish) are vital in helping to communicate in Spanish with the child and family when necessary—even when interpreters are available. Additionally, volunteers from the Latino community understand the cultural nuances that are helpful in handling a case.
When court time arrives, you’ll be there to speak for the child. Having interacted personally with the child, you will advise the court on the best interests of that child—be it an infant who can’t speak or an older teen. You will have taken into account the child’s feelings, but Advocates ultimately make recommendations regarding the child’s best interests to the judge in court.
“One of the things the CASAs have in common is a sense of indignation of the terrible things we know foster care children have gone through,” Rosi Alvarez, a 9-year volunteer from Miami-Dade, Florida, says. “The other characteristic we share is that we are caretakers.”
Court Appointed Special Advocates are appointed as the “Guardian Ad Litem” for the child, and these volunteers are all about the children they represent.
“The greatest barrier to achieving our vision for abused and neglected children is lack of awareness of our cause,” says National CASA CEO Michael Piraino. “Research shows fewer than 5% of adults are aware of the CASA cause. Given the growing number of Latinos in the US, the need for awareness—and bilingual advocates—is especially pressing.”
We simply cannot rely on the news media to get the word out about the CASA program. Word-of-mouth volunteer recruitment is critical in the growing Latino population.
You don’t need a certain background to be a CASA, though you do receive 30 hours of training before you are sworn in. You need a kind and giving heart, and a passion for children.
Now that you know about our important program, aren’t you willing to devote approximately 10 hours per month to the welfare of a child in need?
CASAs make a difference. If you need more information on our program, please click on the link below and then complete our volunteer registration.