Weatherford Democrat

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August 4, 2013

CASA: Beginning of school year often reveals child abuse, neglect

(Continued)

“Too many children are forced to go through the chaos of moving through the child protection system alone,” Tucker said. “CASA of Palo Pinto and Parker Counties needs more volunteers to step up and be a voice for children who desperately need them.”

CASA volunteers are called into action when children are removed from their home due to abuse and/or neglect and a court case is filed “in the interest of” the children. The judge in the case appoints a trained CASA volunteer to be a voice for the children, and to report their concerns and recommendations.

“CASA volunteers assist all parties to the case by providing information and reports,” explained the Honorable Jerry Buckner, Parker County Court at Law No. 1 Judge.

“Being a CASA volunteer is rewarding and everything that the volunteer does is ‘positive,’” Buckner described. “They assist in determining what is in the best interest of the child. The CASA reports are very valuable to me, in my position as a judge.”

CASA volunteers advocate for children’s needs not only in court but also in the child welfare system by helping the children through their struggles in foster care. Importantly, the CASA volunteer’s number one goal is to help the child find a safe, loving family.

“We need more dedicated CASA volunteers to walk with children every step of the way and ensure that they are placed into safe, permanent homes as quickly as possible,” Tucker said.

CASA of Palo Pinto and Parker Counties is one of very few CASA programs in the state that provides a CASA volunteer to every case when a judge requests one. However, as the number of child abuse cases grow, so does the need for trained CASA volunteers to be ready to answer the appointment from a judge.

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