SAN ANGELO, Texas — With Child Abuse Awareness Month in full effect this April, the Children's Advocacy Center of Greater West Texas, Inc., created a program called “30 in 30," created to recruit, train and support 30 committed volunteers in 30 days who are appointed by the court to advocate for the best interest of children in the foster care system.
The need for positive role models in the foster care system remains high, and CASA (which stands for court-appointed special advocates) gives people in the Concho Valley an opportunity to change a child's life and influence them everyday.
“The race began on April 1st and ends on April 30th. To be a CASA volunteer, you will need to go through a background and fingerprint check, be 21 years old or older, go through a training we provide, and have a passion for kiddos,” CASA volunteer coordinator Rebekah Beltran said.
iFoster.org shows there are approximately 424,000 foster youth nationwide. Despite child welfare’s efforts to prevent the removal of children from their parents, the number of children in foster care has been increasing.
Children with CASA volunteers are able to have more one on one support for them during their case. Children who have a CASA involved with their case are more likely to have a more positive case outcome and are less likely to languish in care as long.
If you don’t think you’d have time to volunteer, don’t be too discouraged. Many current volunteers work a lot of different jobs but still have time to have an impact on a child's life.
“We have volunteers that work full time jobs and or active military that are able to find the time to volunteer and be advocates to these children. If you have a busy schedule CASA is very flexible and able to work with your schedule if needed,” Beltran said.
CASA is constantly hosting creative events to get people active and excited to potentially become a volunteer. One event is the drive-thru picnic featuring free food and free admission.
Chief Development Officer Justin Deloach said, “The future is bright for the young lives we serve. There are countless measures taken every single day to ensure our community is aware and vigilant on preventing child abuse and that is what this month represents.”
Learn more about the Children's Advocacy Center of Greater West Texas, Inc., and potentially volunteering by visiting its Facebook page to get more information.