At last check, 13 children from Fannin County who are in foster care do not have a CASA volunteer advocate. The next volunteer training session is set to start soon.
CASA, which stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates, is one of several programs offered by the Fannin County Children’s Center for the benefit of abused and neglected children. CASA is seeking adult volunteers who can complete training and pass background checks to be appointed by the 336th District Court to serve as Guardian ad Litem for children in foster care.
In that role, CASA volunteers regularly visit their assigned child or sibling group and gather information from parents, other family, teachers, medical personnel, therapists and others in order to make recommendations to the court on what will be in the child’s best interest. They prepare court reports and testify at court hearings too. Many volunteers successfully manage to volunteer while also working full time and spending time with their families.
The Children’s Advocacy Center is another program of the Children’s Center. Volunteers are needed to provide child care while parents and siblings are in groups and to sit with families who are at the center for interviews or counseling. Other volunteers are needed for tasks not directly working with children, such as organizing clothes in the Rainbow Room, preparing newsletters for mailing, getting school supplies ready to give away and other office jobs.
There will be an informational session on Tuesday, August 27 from 5:30 – 6:30 pm at the center at 112 West Fifth Street in Bonham. Community Development Director Andrea Lappin and CASA Program Director Amanda McDonald will present information about all the volunteer opportunities available at the center, as well as information about the application process and training requirements. Attendance at the information session is not a requirement to become a volunteer, however, it is a helpful step to learning more about what it takes to be a volunteer. Attending the session will also not obligate anyone to become a volunteer.
The next training sessions for CASA volunteers will start on Sept 10. Participants will gain knowledge and learn skills needed to become an advocate for abused children in foster care. Participants will also be reading and completing activities on their own time. At least 2 hours of court room observation will also be required. All who successfully complete the training will take the CASA oath in the Fannin County District Courtroom.
Applications are now being accepted for both CASA and CAC volunteers. For more information, attend the volunteer information session on August 27, call Amanda or Andrea at (903) 583-4339.