March is Social Worker Appreciation Month. We want to honor the countless social workers who make a profound impact on the lives of individuals and families every day. Social workers are integral in our communities, serving as advocates, counselors, and supporters to those in need. Their tireless work and dedication to their profession are truly admirable, as they tirelessly work to promote social justice, equality, and well-being for all. Social workers are an integral piece of the CASA For Kids mission. They demonstrate incredible empathy, compassion, and resilience, working tirelessly to empower individuals and families to overcome challenges and reach their full potential. As we take time to acknowledge and celebrate our beloved social workers this month, we also want to talk about an upcoming event that involves all of our CASA supporters!
This April, our much anticipated “Sweet 16 Cake Smash Celebration” will take place. Cake Smash is a special virtual awareness campaign for the advocates, volunteers, and supporters who have helped CASA grow and continue to advocate for children in our local areas. Participants that fundraise $1,000 or more agree to take a cake in the face for CASA! This fundraiser has become a crowd favorite for our South Central Texas chapter. CASA volunteers are encouraged to set fundraising goals, share their campaign and eventually reach their monetary goal! Once they hit the $1,000 mark, they happily receive a cake smashed in their face.
The beauty of this event is that we encourage any and all friends and volunteers to participate. It’s not just for our staff members or loyal social workers. By volunteering for CASA, you have the opportunity to be a voice for these vulnerable children, to ensure that their needs are being met, and that they are receiving the care and services they require to thrive. And sometimes, we get to witness that dedication in action… with a cake to the face!
You don’t need to be a social worker to be a CASA volunteer. However, the success of each CASA program is dependent on the tireless work of the beloved social work profession. Social workers can play a vital role in CASA for Kids as they often provide critical support to the CASA volunteers and the children they serve. Social workers have expertise in assessing and addressing the needs of children and families, which can be invaluable in the CASA program. They may provide guidance and support to the CASA volunteer in understanding the child's history, needs, and strengths. Social workers can also assist with identifying resources and services that may be helpful to the child and their family, such as counseling, medical care, or educational support.
Additionally, social workers can provide ongoing monitoring and support to the child and the CASA volunteer throughout the case, ensuring that the child's needs are being met and that progress is being made towards achieving a safe, permanent home. Social workers can also play a key role in facilitating communication and collaboration between the various parties involved in the child welfare system, including the CASA volunteer, the child's family, the courts, and other professionals. Ultimately, the partnership between social workers and CASA volunteers can be a powerful force for positive change in the lives of children in foster care.
We hope that this celebration gives you more insight to the noble profession of social workers and all that they do for CASA For Kids. By volunteering for CASA, you can make a meaningful difference in the lives of children in need, and help to ensure that they have a brighter future. Let’s take this opportunity to recognize and celebrate the vital contributions of social workers, and express our gratitude for their invaluable service to society. You don’t need to be a social worker to be a CASA volunteer. You just need to have the desire to make a difference – just like our colleagues in the social work field.
Email our Executive Director, Mandy Wright to learn more about participating in our Sweet Sixteen Cake Smash!
For many of us Valentine’s Day is a chance to show our affection for the important people in our lives through cards, flowers and other gifts. But candy and cards will be the last thing on the minds of many of the children in the foster care system who will be facing this special day far away from their friends, families and other loved ones.
When a family is in crisis and a child enters the child welfare system, they often live in a foster home far away from their home community. Though they have done nothing to deserve it, they face challenges and unforeseen consequences as the result of being in foster care. They tend to move from placement to placement and school to school – running the risk of losing touch with the friends, mentors, family, and other loved ones in their lives.
Volunteers with CASA for Kids of South-Central Texas advocate for these children, ensure they are safe and cared for, and work hard to keep them connected with their communities, families and loved ones while they are in foster care and beyond. “Studies show that one of the key indicators for child well-being is the number of committed adults in their lives,” Mandy Wright, Executive Director of CASA for Kids of South-Central Texas. “In addition to speaking up for children’s best interests in court, our CASA volunteers can play an integral part in making sure they maintain positive relationships with their parents, families, friends, mentors and home communities in whatever ways possible.”
CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteers are everyday people who are appointed by a judge to advocate for a child or sibling group in the foster care system. CASA for Kids of South-Central Texas is one of the CASA programs in Texas that recruits, screens, and trains these volunteers. “Foster care can be scary, lonely and uncertain for children, especially when they are placed far away from everything and everyone they know,” said Wright. “CASA volunteers advocate for these children in court, school and other settings, building a positive relationship with them, helping to keep them connected and reminding them that they are not alone.”
CASA volunteers get to know the child on a personal level and communicate with everyone involved in their life, including parents and other family members, foster parents, social workers and others. They work with the child’s caseworker and others on the case to build and strengthen a lifetime network of family and other committed adults who will support the child and each other even after the child’s time in foster care ends. “CASA volunteers advocate first and foremost for reunification with the child’s parents, with the child’s safety as the first priority,” said Wright. “When reunification is not safe or possible, they advocate for the child to live with other family, or with a caring adoptive family.”
If you’d like to learn more about CASA for Kids, or get involved with us locally, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.