Three 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 Cathy Naylor, Star Breece and Taryn Nejtek.
“We are so excited to have these three new CASA advocates join our team,” said Julie Luton, CASA Program Director with the Fannin County Children’s Center, which includes the local CASA program. “All of them have dedicated themselves to work the 32 hours of training it takes to be a CASA volunteer. All three are now trained and ready to help children from hard places. Now their CASA journey begins! And as Gandhi said “the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.””
In the year ending August 31, 2022, CASA volunteers logged in 2,963 hours serving 66 children in foster care. During the same year, when CASA closed out cases 23% were reunified with their families, 41% went to live permanently with relatives, 32% went to non-relatives and 5% aged out of care.
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 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 2023. Other volunteer opportunities are available now at the Children’s Center. For more information call (903) 583-4339 or visit www.fanninccc.org.