The mission of CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County is to “provide and promote court-appointed volunteer advocacy so that every abused and neglected child can have the opportunity to thrive in a safe, nurturing, and permanent home.” In June of 2015, CASA accomplished its mission to provide an Advocate for each abused and neglected child in need in Montgomery County.
In 1992, the initial CASA program of Montgomery County was established. Eighteen volunteer Advocates were appointed to twenty-eight children. By the end of (fiscal year) 2014, CASA volunteers served about 94% of these children.
As we grew, the mission remained the same, but was it possible to provide every child in the child welfare system in Montgomery County with a CASA Advocate?
Something To Celebrate
Today, we can answer that question with a resounding yes!
Texas CASA CEO, Vicki Spriggs, said of the achievement, “Texas CASA congratulates CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County for achieving such an important milestone, and the entire CASA community celebrates this incredible accomplishment alongside them. Even as we celebrate this great success, we know that Montgomery County will continue its work to be able to provide a CASA for those children who, through no fault of their own, will end up in the state’s foster care system.
Continuing The Fight
Without more volunteers, the future may soon bring a day when we no longer have the ability to provide an Advocate for each child. However, we remain optimistic that with your help, we will continue to serve every child in need. With children entering the child welfare system in Montgomery County at a rate of approximately four per week, we still need volunteers in order to stay abreast of the demand for CASA Advocates.
A CASA Advocate stays with the appointed child for the duration of his/her case or until the permanent placement of the child has been achieved. Some CASA volunteers even stay in contact with the children for whom they advocated and who’ve won a special place in their hearts.
Usually, a CASA volunteer is assigned to one child or sibling group at the time. However, a good number of Advocates undertake more than one case to fill the growing need.
What Would I Do?
You will appear in court and present your findings to the judge. All CASA Volunteers are trained to speak for the child’s best interests.
What else does a CASA do in his/her capacity as a Court Appointed Special Advocate? A CASA serves as the “eyes and ears” for the judge when it comes to the child and his/her best interests. You will get to know the child and familiarize yourself with his/her unique situation, including meeting family members, teachers, and/or therapists. You will document your findings and keep the court informed. In addition, you can recommend services that the family or child might require.
Yes, becoming an Advocate is a commitment, but many volunteers say that they went into it envisioning what they could give the child and came out understanding what the child had actually given to them.
A Dream Come True
We are delighted with our triumph over the statistics and celebrate providing an Advocate for each abused or neglected child in need in Montgomery County. Many times, this aim seemed very far away and very difficult to obtain—like that brass ring on old merry-go-rounds. To have reached it almost feels like a dream—a dream come true. We’ll cherish this success while continuing our efforts to maintain it – for the children.
As mentioned above, with more children entering the child welfare system, our need for volunteers becomes critical.
To learn more about this rewarding experience, visit the website at www.CASASpeaks4Kids.com or call (936) 441-5437. We look forward to hearing from you!