Casa means home, but for thousands of abused and neglected children, it's an acronym that has even more meaning – it's the hope of finally finding a safe, permanent home where they can thrive.
Court Appointed Special Advocates is an organization of volunteers trained to gather facts and give recommendations that help judges make critical decisions about child abuse in Parker and Palo Pinto counties.
To commemorate its eighth year, CASA – Hope for Children wants to reach even more children than it does now. Its goal is to continue to provide an advocate for each child who goes through the system, which would require 100 more volunteers as well as the financial resources to train and supervise them.
“Everyday in Parker and Palo Pinto counties, district and family court judges decide where these children may safely live,” CASA – Hope for Children Executive Director Barb Tucker said. “After an initial investigation, often at a local CPS (Child Protective Services) office, these children are placed under the protective care of the courts until judges can decide what's best for each child. That's where CASA comes into the picture.”
There are approximately 335 children in the area in the care of the state at this time. These children have been physically abused, sexually abused, neglected, abandoned or have survived the murder of a sibling.
CASA aides the foster care system by helping judges make decisions for children in CPS custody. Children served by CASA volunteers often spend less time in the foster care system, saving taxpayers thousands of dollars in foster care payments.
CASA volunteers help secure services that help in the healing of traumatized children and helps them find safe, permanent homes.
“Our advocates have done so much good, but there is still an overwhelming need for more CASA volunteers,” Tucker said.
Free training classes start March 17, with morning classes beginning at 9 a.m. and evening classes beginning at 6:30 p.m. An informational session will be offered during the first hour of each class to answer questions regarding CASA. Classes will be held at the CASA – Hope for Children office, 701 Palo Pinto St., Suite 701-F, Weatherford, Texas 76086. For more information, contact 817-599-6224