BCBSTX & Texas CASA: What Do CASA Volunteers Do?

BCBSTX & Texas CASA: What Do CASA Volunteers Do?

When a child is removed from their home due to evidence of abuse or neglect, they are placed in an overburdened foster care system that is hard-pressed to meet their unique needs.

For these children, foster care tends to be scary and uncertain. In addition to the trauma they’ve already experienced due to abuse or neglect, they tend to move from placement to placement and caseworker to caseworker. Too often they are left to make their way through the system – and deal with the challenges that ensue – on their own.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Our Healthy Kids, Healthy Families® partner, Texas CASA, and the statewide CASA community, are working tirelessly to recruit and train dedicated advocates to speak up for these children and ensure their physical, emotional, medical and educational needs are met.

Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASA volunteers, are everyday members of the community who are appointed by judges to advocate for a child in the foster care system. They get to know their assigned child on an individual level, and also speak with their teachers, foster parents, biological family, doctors, caseworkers and others involved in the case. This helps the CASA volunteer develop a holistic understanding of the child’s unique needs and circumstances. They use the in-depth information they gather to speak up for the child in court, school and other settings, ensuring they receive the correct services and individualized support.

Check out these true stories describing the unique difference CASA advocacy makes in the lives of children.

  • Greg, 9, was removed from his home, bounced between different foster homes and psychiatric hospitals, and was prescribed eight different medications in the span of two months. He began having side effects from the medication, such as wetting his bed and sleeping through school. The court appointed Greg a CASA volunteer, who advocated for a medical review to reduce and stabilize his medication, as well as additional therapy to treat the causes of Greg’s behavior. Greg’s side effects stopped, and he was reunited with his family.
  • Michelle was removed from her home at age 11 due to her mother and sister’s struggles with drug addiction. She spent several years in various foster homes and became pregnant. Michelle was appointed a CASA volunteer, who supported her through her pregnancy and made sure she received services so that she could graduate from high school. Michelle is now working and going to college, and both she and her daughter are happy and healthy.
  • Jacob, 4, was removed from his home due to abuse. He began acting out because of his inability to cope with the trauma he had experienced. His behavior worsened, and he was separated from his siblings, placed in a residential treatment center (RTC), and labeled “unadoptable.” Jacob was appointed a CASA volunteer, who was able to establish a relationship of trust with him. She helped him get out of the RTC, reconnect with his siblings and find an adoptive home.

CASA volunteers provide the reliable adult presence and advocacy children like Greg, Michelle and Jacob need during an otherwise unstable time in their lives. But foster care is only one part of these children’s journey. With Collaborative Family Engagement (CFE), CASA volunteers are taking their advocacy even further by ensuring that children leave the system surrounded by a supportive network of family and other trusted adults. The connections that come from CFE will last children a lifetime, setting them up for future success by ensuring they never again have to journey through life alone.

Last year, a statewide total of 10,424 CASA volunteers spoke up for more than 29,700 children. As a member of the BCBSTX community, you are helping the CASA movement continue to grow, so that one day, they can provide a volunteer for every child in our state’s foster care system. To learn more about CASA and how you can become a volunteer, visit BecomeACASA.org.

Anonymous