CASA Of East Texas Reacts

Caught off guard. That's how Court Appointed Special Advocates Chairman John Carr is describing Wednesday's controversial order from Smith County Judge Carol Clark. The order prevents CASA from representing children in Judge Clark's courtroom. Robin Tabraham, CASA volunteer, says "We were told we going to get swore in this morning and then Judge Clark said no we are not going to swear us in she was going to talk to us and then maybe swear us in later." However, they were never sworn in. Instead, CASA volunteer Tabraham had to be sworn in by Judge Floyd Getz. Robin says she is not going to let the controversy surrounding CASA discourage her from helping East Texas children. Tabraham says, "It makes me more determined to help the kids and I think it's a good organization."

CASA chairman of the board, John Carr told us if Judge Clark has concerns about CASA, she needs to share them with him and the board. Carr says, "To my knowledge the staff that she is referring to, that she has no confidence in, has worked in her courtroom for years and there has been no problems until two weeks ago." That's when CASA terminated their executive director, a move that was questioned by some board members. Carr is going to meet with Texas Casa, who will audit the local CASA and review Judge Clark's decision. Carr says, "I think this is short term issue and perhaps she was trying to make a point and we want to hear what that point is so we can take care of the children again." Carr says CASA staff and volunteers are continuing to work in Wood and Van Zandt County, as well as Smith County in Judge Floyd Getz's courtroom. Carr says the CASA board will meet Friday to discuss personnel issues and review the findings of Texas CASA.

Karolyn Davis, reporting.