LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - Not a pandemic or a once-in-a-generation winter storm stopped the efforts of dozens of advocates who want their voices heard by Texas lawmakers.
Last Wednesday, volunteers and supporters of Texas CASA held their annual “CASA at the Capitol” event virtualy.
The event is typically held at the state capitol in Austin and is attended by members from CASA chapters from East Texas every year.
Heading into 2021, their biggest mission continues to be more funding for the advancement of Texas policies affecting the child welfare system and the well-being of children in state custody.
“Money is tight this session, but children and families rely on the work of our 11,000 volunteers statewide and we rely on state funding to continue that support,” said Texas CASA CEO Vicky Spriggs during the virtual opening statements. “Now is not the time to reduce funding to a volunteer organization supporting children and families in crisis.”
While the 87th legislative session still has several months left to convene, there are ways you can help children in East Texas now.
CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate. Each year, hundreds of volunteers are trained, sworn in by a judge, and assigned to a child placed in state-care to ensure their care is being overseen on a personal level, as well as in the courtroom.
The organization serves thousands of East Texas children, but the need for volunteers increases as the number of kids entering the system continues to climb.
In early February, nine new advocates were sworn in on the steps of the Gregg County courthouse through East Texas CASA. The group trained virtually amid the pandemic and finished the process at an adjusted ceremony outdoors.
They are one of many programs showing their flexibility amid the pandemic to make ensure children in need aren’t left without a voice on their behalf.
If you’d like to get involved as a CASA volunteer, new virtual trainings start as early as the first week of March in East Texas.
East Texas CASA: Gregg County
Next training begins March 2nd. Click here for website.
CASA for Kids of East Texas: Smith County
Next virtual information session on March 9th. Click here for website.
CASA of Deep East Texas: Nacogdoches County
Click here for website.