Topics: Child abuse, Judge, Neglect Pages: 5 (1439 words) Published: March 18, 2013
Every year, the state of Texas removes thousands of children from their homes because of abuse or neglect. These victimized children are drawn into an overburdened child welfare system that is hard pressed to address their individual concerns. Eventually, they end up in court. CASA is a nonprofit partnership that trains and supports thousands of volunteer advocates to work with these children as they journey through the court system toward safe, loving, permanent homes. Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) are appointed by judges to advocate for the child in court. The CASA volunteer advocate is frequently the most consistent person in the child's life during their involvement with the court. Golden Crescent CASA serves the needs of abused and neglected children in Calhoun, DeWitt, Goliad, Gonzales, Jackson, Lavaca, Refugio, and Victoria counties. The Golden Crescent CASA mission is to utilize trained volunteers, appointed by the court, to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children and assist in placing them in nurturing, permanent homes. We speak for children who can't speak for themselves.

About CASA
Concerned over making decisions about abused and neglected children's lives without sufficient information, a Seattle judge conceived the idea of using trained community volunteers to speak for the best interests of these children in court. This Seattle program was so successful that soon judges across the country began utilizing citizen advocates. Eventually in 1990, the U.S. Congress encouraged the expansion of CASA with passage of the Victims of Child Abuse Act. Golden Crescent CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) was established in 1995 to provide trained community volunteers to advocate in the best interests of abused and neglected children involved in the court system. Today, Golden Crescent CASA serves as Guardian ad Litem for children in foster care in Calhoun, DeWitt, Goliad, Gonzales, Jackson, Lavaca, Refugio, and Victoria counties. Each Court Appointed Special Advocate focuses on the child’s best interest through services, treatment and placement. These sworn child advocates are given constant support and guidance by professional staff as well as training in child development, communications and cultural competency skills. The strength of the CASA program lies in providing care and support on a one-to-one basis throughout the court process, allowing the child and volunteers to develop a trusting, and nurturing relationship. Nationwide, the CASA program has evolved into one of the largest volunteer organizations in the country with more than 900 programs in operation, at least one in every state; In Texas in 2007, 4,928 CASA volunteers advocated for 20,509 children in 202 counties. Golden Crescent CASA has seven staff members. Income sources include: United Way

Victims of Crime Act (VOCA)
Crime Victims Compensation (CVC)
Private donations and fundraising
Assorted grants
License Plate Fund
Golden Crescent CASA is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of community members and an Advisory Board including judges, attorneys, mayors and city council members and other interested citizens. Need for CASA the facts:

A report of child abuse is made every 10 seconds
Child abuse is the #1 killer of preschool age children

Almost 5 children die every day as a result of child abuse

More than 75% are 4 years old or younger
In 2009, 40,126 of Texas children were victims of abuse and neglect. On any given day in the Golden Crescent CASA eight county region, a child can be removed from their parents' care and placed in out-of-home care due to abuse or neglect. Stripped of all that is familiar to them, often separated from their siblings and without the comfort of their friends, they spend too much of their childhood being shuffled from group home to group home, foster placement to foster placement, having to adjust to new schools and new faces with every move. The system...
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