CASA Volunteer Training Begins Jan. 13

Big Country CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) is beginning a new training session. For more information on becoming a CASA volunteer, go to http://www.bigcountrycasa.org, or call Rebel Taylor at 325-677-6448.
Winter January 2022 New Volunteer Training in CASA Office (Trainees must attend ALL sessions for each class)
Thurs Jan 13th  @ 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. Orientation
Mon Jan 17th  @ 5:45 – 9:00 p.m. Session 1
Thurs  Jan 20th @ 5:45 – 9:00 p.m. Session 2
Mon  Jan 24th @ 5:45 – 9:00 p.m. Session 3
Thurs Jan 27th @ 5:45 – 9:30 p.m. – Session 4 review & Session 5
Mon Jan 31st @ 5:45 – 9:30 p.m. – Session 6 review & Session 7
Thurs Feb 3rd @ 5:45 – 9:00 p.m. Session 8

The following information about being a CASA volunteer is from Rebel Taylor, advocate and events director for Big Country CASA:

A Court Appointed Special Advocate for Children (CASA) speaks in court for the best interest of children who have been removed from their homes for abuse or neglect and are now in the foster care system.  

As a guardian ad litem – or a CASA – volunteers reach out to all parties in the case gathering information and collaborating together to ensure the child’s placement is appropriate, that they are receiving the services best focused on their individual needs and they are safe and cared for while in foster care.

Volunteers collaborate with attorneys, caseworkers, teachers, family members–anyone who can provide insight into the child’s life and give us a knowledge base to better inform the recommendations we make to the court. 

Our initial goal is always family reunification when possible and safe. However, when this is not possible, we assist in looking for alternative permanent placements, hopefully family members.  

Advocates also identify resources to provide the child normalcy while in care. We encourage extracurricular activities, obtaining a driver’s license, participating in sports or other activities the child may have interests in.  

An advocate’s job is to identify any gaps in a child’s care and make recommendations on options to fill those gaps; advocacy looks different in every case, which leads to the difference a CASA can make in a foster care child’s life. CASA volunteers provide a unique perspective on a child’s case and our ultimate goal is to help children find safe, permanent homes as soon as possible.  

As for our impact on the community, Taylor County had over 600 children in foster care in 2020 and BCC served 402 of those. A CASA volunteer is a  consistent face in the child’s traumatic journey through the foster care system, as caseworkers change frequently, and the child may move from placement to placement.

All advocates, including our staff, must go through a background screening process, interview and 35-hour training course, which includes court observations, the legal process and instruction in the Child Welfare system.  

Volunteers come from all walks of life – and it doesn’t matter what their profession is – we provide the necessary training and support. What matters is that they are caring, concerned people desiring to make a difference in a child’s life. 

The best volunteers are simply those who are willing to give approximately 10 hours a month to care for vulnerable children who have been traumatized and in need of someone to be on their side and to advocate for their best interest!

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