Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

August 16, 2013

CASA receives Texas Gas Service grant


Mineral Wells Index

— By CLINT FOSTER



The Court Appointed Special Advocates of Palo Pinto and Parker Counties program has announced it received grant funds from Texas Gas Service last month, following a request from the local non-profit organization.

According to CASA volunteer recruiter and trainer Trisha Duke, the $5,000 grant from Texas Gas Service will be used toward the purchase of a new vehicle for CASA staff to travel to various necessary events and obligations in order to better serve local abused and neglected children.

“Earlier this year we requested a grant from Texas Gas Service that would assist us with the purchase of a vehicle to be used in our volunteer recruitment and training efforts,” said Barb Tucker, CASA of Palo Pinto and Parker Counties executive director. “We are very thankful to have received the grant.”

Trained CASA volunteers advocate for local neglected and abused children in the foster-care system. Duke said advocates are responsible for getting to know the child or children in their case, making fact-based recommendations and expressing any concerns to make sure the best interests of those children are met.

According to a CASA press release, this new vehicle will help transport Duke and other CASA staff to official events, such as speaking engagements, educational meetings and volunteer training sessions. Once purchased, it will also be used to help transport children’s belongings when they change foster homes.

Executive Director of Texas Gas Service Wyatt Irby personally delivered the grant funds to CASA’s Weatherford office on July 11.

Texas Gas Service, which has offices in Weatherford and Mineral Wells, is a division of ONEOK – one of the nation’s largest natural gas distributors. The Tulsa-based, Fortune 200 company serves about 2 million customers through its three distribution companies in Oklahoma, Kansas and, of course, Texas. Since its inception in 1997, the ONEOK Foundation has awarded $39 million in grants to support non-profit organizations.

Duke told the Index in a previous interview the local CASA chapter is one of only four programs in Texas that covers 100 percent of its local children in foster care. CASA of Palo Pinto and Parker Counties currently has 102 volunteers serving 295 children who have been removed from their homes because of abuse and/or neglect. But Duke said CASA still needs more help.

“We are always needing more advocates,” she said.

“Unfortunately, the numbers [of children in foster care] are growing so quickly that, if we don’t get more advocates soon, we may not be able to cover every child. I don’t even want to think about that,” Duke added.

For more information about CASA of Palo Pinto and Parker Counties, or to learn  how to become a CASA volunteer, contact Duke at 817-599-6224 or trishaduke@casaofparkercounty.com.

Follow Clint on Twitter @Clint_Foster55