On December 18, 2020, CASA for Kids of South Central Texas held its 1st annual Casas for CASA Home for the Holidays Playhouse Raffle and they would like to thank the community for its overwhelming support. Over $20,000 was raised through ticket sales and donations and will be used to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in Austin, Colorado, Waller & Washington county courts through the training and support of community volunteers. “We could not have raised these funds without our four builders who designed, constructed and donated the playhouses,” said Mandy Wright, executive director of CASA for Kids.
A special thank you goes to Luedeker Homes in Austin County, Winston Sage Custom Homes in Colorado County, Heritage Oak Homes in Waller County, and Estella Contracting, LLC. in Washington County for supporting the fundraiser and stepping up in a big way. The funds raised will help fill a gap in funding that COVID has caused. “We are so appreciative of everyone who bought tickets or donated as we know times are tough for many,” said Wright. Congratulations to the winners: Magen Bain, Lori Jackson, Amanda Guthrie and Stefanie Kraus. (Bain Family pictured above enjoying their new Luedecker Homes custom Playhouse).
As 2020 comes to an end, CASA for Kids invites you to join them in supporting their mission to advocate for the best interest of local children in foster care by becoming a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) to help ensure every child’s voice is heard. The start of a new year often comes with a list of resolutions. New Year’s resolutions are different for everyone, but one of the most common is to live a healthier lifestyle. If you’re hoping to improve your physical and mental health, there’s one option that often gets overlooked and benefits others: volunteering.
Volunteering and helping others has been found to benefit both physical and mental health, and there are a variety of options in our community. If you’re looking for a new way to make changes in your life and in the lives of others, consider resolving to help children and families in the child welfare system by volunteering with CASA for Kids.
51,417 children are currently in the Texas child welfare system. These children have been removed from their homes and placed in foster care, sometimes far away from their families and communities. They need a CASA to stand by their side and advocate for them. “Children in foster care are often separated from their families, siblings, friends and other loved ones, and placed in an unfamiliar setting far away from everything they know,” said Wright. “CASA volunteers stand with them during this uncertain time, providing a consistent presence and speaking up for their best interest in court, school and other settings.”
CASA volunteers are everyday members of the community who are recruited, screened and trained to advocate for a child or sibling group in foster care. They get to know the child on an individual level so that they can make sure their physical, emotional and educational needs are met.
They also get to know the child’s parents, family, foster parents and other important people in their life, with the goal of working towards reunifying the child with their parents whenever safe and possible. They help make sure children have a support system of family and other reliable, committed adults who can help them both during and after their time in foster care.
CASA for Kids has served 180 children in foster care this year with 73 CASA volunteers. CASA is always seeking more community members to step up and advocate.
“Volunteering with CASA is an opportunity unlike any other,” said Wright. “It’s a unique chance to make a true, positive difference for a young person and their family. We need more members of the community to join the CASA movement.”
In the New Year, consider becoming a CASA volunteer and make an impact in a child’s life, and your own. Every child has a chance – it’s you. ®
To learn more, visit www.wespeak4kids.org. Next training session starts 1/19/2021.
Applications are being accepted now.
Brenham, Texas – CASA for Kids of South Central Texas is calling for community members to step up and advocate for children and families involved in the child welfare system in our local area.
“Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and physical distancing, many of us have been feeling increased stress, anxiety and isolation. Children involved in the foster care system are no exception,” said Mandy Wright, Executive Director of CASA for Kids of South Central Texas. “While we can’t physically be by their side right now, we still want the children who is in foster care right here in our community to know they have an advocate on their side. With so much uncertainty in the world, we want to help give these kids peace of mind, stability and connection. We want them to feel safety and comfort.”
Volunteers with CASA for Kids of South Central Texas are known as CASA volunteers, or Court Appointed Special Advocates. These CASA volunteers advocate for a child or sibling group while they are in foster care. CASA volunteers advocate in the courtroom, school and other settings for the best interest of the child they are representing, help them stay connected with their families and communities, and work towards family reunification whenever safe and possible.
Now is a great time to get involved with CASA, Wright said. With info sessions, pre-service volunteer training and swearing-in ceremonies currently conducted online, you can make a difference in the lives of children and families in the foster care system—right from your own home.
“COVID-19 has changed how we conduct our advocacy work, but it has not changed our drive and passion to serve the children and families of this community,” said Wright. “We are taking precautions with how we conduct our training, visits with children and families, volunteer supervision and events to ensure the safety of all involved.”
As a part of their new operating procedures, CASA for Kids of South Central Texas is conducting Digital training and information sessions. In addition to this, precautions like digital visits on Zoom, ensuring volunteers if they choose to visit in person, wear masks and maintain safe distances are set in place to help prevent spread among the community.
“We are here to serve the children and families of Austin, Colorado, Waller & Washington Counties. We want to do that as safely as possible for the sake of those we serve, our staff, our volunteers and the greater public,” said Wright. “We never want a child in foster care to go without a CASA volunteer, especially now. That’s why we need our community to stand up and join us in our advocacy.”
If you’ve been looking for a unique way to serve your community, join the CASA movement. What better time than now? If you’d like to find out more about becoming a CASA volunteer or other ways to get involved, visit BecomeACASA.org or wespeak4kids.org.
Brenham, Texas – The start of a new year often comes with a list of resolutions. New Year’s resolutions are different for everyone, but one of the most common is to live a healthier lifestyle. If you’re hoping to improve your physical and mental health, there’s one option that often gets overlooked and benefits others – volunteering.
Volunteering and helping others has been found to benefit both physical and mental health, and there are a variety of options in our community. If you’re looking for a new way to make changes in your life and in the lives of others, consider resolving to help children and families by volunteering with CASA for Kids of South Central Texas.
Brenham, Texas – For many of us Valentine’s Day is our 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 is placed in 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.
Brenham, Texas – About 1,700-1,900 children and youth are reported as missing from foster care in a given year according to a report from the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). In many cases, “missing” in reality means that they have run away. Running away from foster care puts youth at risk of many dangers, including abduction, physical harm, exploitation, homelessness, substance use and more.
The reasons youth give most frequently for running away according to DFPS are anger at the system, dissatisfaction with rules of their placement, desire to be on their own and wanting to see family. They are also more likely to run away from highly restrictive placements, such as residential treatment centers, emergency shelters and therapeutic foster care.