GET TO KNOW CASA: Court Appointed Special Advocates

Sep 2, 2021

Continuing To Change Children’s Futures

When a family is in crisis and becomes involved in the child welfare system, a judge may appoint a committed volunteer to advocate for the child. That volunteer is called a Court Appointed Special Advocate®, or CASA.

Advocates provide valuable information to the judge and others involved in the case to help ensure a child’s best interest is being met.

CASA volunteers stay by a child’s side throughout the case, advocating first for reunification when safe and possible.

At FITNESS PROJECT®, We put the unity in our community and bring our members together for a positive social impact. Fitness Project supports local charities through fundraising and experiential initiatives, and invites members to participate in any capacity they’re interested in. While we try to make our community projects appealing to everyone, we do not put pressure or pass judgement on our members to donate or attend. We simply create an environment that showcases what we’re involved in and celebrates our members’ community goals and achievements. Should a member want to contribute, we’ll welcome them with open arms!

So far members and our staff have raised over $32,000 for the CASA organization alone, which will provide more than 21 children with Advocates for a year!

Click here to give back or support CASA

MISSION & VISION

CASA MISSION: Child Advocates of Montgomery County provides and promotes court-appointed volunteer advocacy so that every abused and neglected child can have the opportunity to thrive in a safe, nurturing, permanent home.

CASA VISION: Our vision is a concerned community where abuse and neglect is not tolerated and every child has the right to a safe, secure, enriching childhood.

2020 Stats

  • 350 volunteer Advocates served 680 children in foster care. That’s 100% of children in care in our county.
  • 74 caring individuals stepped up, took the new Advocate training, and were sworn in.
  • Our volunteers and staff made sure every child continued to have the support of an Advocate through innovation and out-of-the-box ideas.

As We Look Ahead

  • About 6 children enter the foster care system in Montgomery County each week.
  • During the past year, we experienced monthly increases of up to 77% in the cases of abuse being reported.
  • Every one of these children deserves to have a volunteer by their side, looking out for their best interest and ensuring they are heard in the court system.

CASA – Court Appointed Special Advocates

What is it? When a child enters the foster care system because his or her home is no longer safe, a judge may appoint a committed volunteer to help them. That volunteer is called a Court Appointed Special Advocate®, or CASA.

CASA Child Advocates is the only organization appointed by the court to advocate for abused and neglected children.

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) speak up for the best interest of children who have been removed from their home and are under the Court’s jurisdiction.

CASA volunteers are screened and highly trained and then appointed by judges to represent and advocate for a child’s best interests in the child protection system. CASA volunteers are each assigned to help one child or set of siblings at a time, so they can focus on giving that child or sibling group the individualized advocacy and attention they need. CASA volunteers save taxpayers money and children’s futures by helping children find safe, permanent homes as soon as possible.

THE PRIMARY GOAL OF CASA is to provide a court-appointed Advocate for every child in need, to help break the cycle of abuse in our community, one child at a time.

For the past 29 years, CASA has been training volunteers, raising awareness in the community, and working to stop the cycle of child abuse!

Are you interested in volunteering or learning more? CASA reps visit our clubs often to meet with members that might be interested or you can visit https://casaspeaks4kids.com/volunteer/

A MESSAGE FROM ANN MARIE RONSMAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

CHILDREN WITHOUT PLACEMENT IN TEXAS: A GROWING CRISIS

Our child welfare system has always struggled, but currently the struggles are worse than ever with the Children Without Placement (CWOP) crisis. Click here to read this June article from The Texas Tribune/ABC 13 News.

The work we do at CASA has never been more important. We continue to serve 100% of the children in care in Montgomery County. Our Advocates are doing what they do best. They are building relationships with children, parents, caregivers, medical professionals, and teachers. They are ensuring that the best interest of children remains the central focus for the case.

Being a caseworker has never been an easy job, but with the addition of CWOP responsibilities, it is beyond difficult. CASA Advocates make sure that the small details of a case do not get lost so that the case can continue to move forward. In addition, we are finding connections for children within their extended families and communities. We are offering TBRI (Trust Based Relational Intervention) coaching for families and caregivers to equip them with skills to effectively care for our children. Our teens were part of a book club this summer. They also learned about post-secondary education and for the first time had a vision of what might be possible for their futures.

We need you to join us! The work we do is critical for these children in care. Will you join us as an Advocate, a run or gala committee member or volunteer, event guest or donor?

How have CASA volunteers continued to serve children during the pandemic?

At CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County, over the past year, they have adapted to social distancing guidelines in order for their volunteers to continue their important advocacy work for children in foster care.

Currently in a hybrid state for visitation and court – Advocates meet with children in person if they feel safe and comfortable doing so or alternately, may otherwise meet with them over video chat. Court is also being conducted in person with the option for Advocates to appear in court via video conferencing. Training for new Advocates has been converted to virtual, online group sessions.

Advocates are making sure these children from hard places are being taken care of during this time of uncertainty.

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