Four local people recently completed training and were sworn-in to become volunteer CASA advocates for children in foster care. The Honorable Judge Lauri Blake of the 336th District Court administered the oath to the new volunteers. New child advocates include Carol Swanson, Steve Arthur, Erika Gonzalez and Kimberly Tillett-Poole.
“We are so excited to have these four join our CASA team,” said Amanda McDonald, CASA Program Director with the Fannin County Children’s Center, which includes the local CASA program. “Their dedication to the Advocate training will carry over to their work advocating for children in foster care. All four of them have been appointed to a case and have already started meeting with staff to begin the next steps in their journey as a CASA volunteer advocate.”
In the year ending August 31, 2021, CASA served 107 children. During the same year, CASA closed out cases on 55 children. Most notably, 45 of those 55 children (82%) either returned home or went to stay permanently with relatives.
All volunteers completed an intensive training class which prepares them to serve as Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for children who have been removed from their home due to abuse and neglect. The district judge appoints CASA volunteers to serve as the Guardian ad Litem for each child who has been placed in the state’s custody. In that role, CASA advocates investigate the child’s situation, prepare written reports to the court and advocate for the child’s best interest in court hearings and other settings. CASA also advocates and monitors to ensure that all educational, medical, mental health and other needs are met.
CASA is one program of several programs for abused and neglected children that are operated by the Fannin County Children’s Center. The next new CASA volunteer training will likely be in January or February 2022. Other volunteer opportunities are available now at the Children’s Center. For more information call (903) 583-4339 or visit www.fanninccc.org.