Today was CASA Day at the Capitol. A memorial was also displayed at the Capitol today, showing the names and ages of the Texas children that died of abuse and neglect in 2010. Funding for CPS workers and services for children in foster care was the most pressing issue at today’s event for the CASA volunteers.
Advocates for the group of Court-Appointed Special Advocate wore the color blue to symbolize for legislators that abused and neglected children should still a top priority in the state of Texas. Children who enter the foster care system may be appointed a CASA volunteer to represent them.
“We had 227 children die last year,” said Beryl Southall, CASA Executive Director for Region 6, which includes Wharton and Matagorda Counties. “It is anticipated that we will have more children coming into foster care system, so that’s more children who are going to be abused and neglected.”
Some of the biggest problems the organization faces are volunteer recruitment and retention, and letting communities across Texas know the type of work that CASA does.
“We have 6,619 volunteers currently advocating for about 20,891 children,” Andrea Sparks, Director of Public Policy for Texas CASA, told KUT. “We need more volunteers. Unfortunately, the Department of Family and Protective Services is predicting that the number of kids in CPS custody will increase to about 51,000 in 2014.”