According to CASA Of Collin County Executive Director Tricia Clifton,
Every child deserves a safe and loving home free from abuse and neglect. At CASA of Collin County, we promote and protect the best interests of children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse and neglect. By training volunteer advocates to improve the child’s quality of life and serve as their voice within the court system, we aim to make this vision a reality for all children.
Since January 1, CASA of Collin County has provided well-trained volunteer advocates for 375 foster children. To ensure that our agency has an advocate available for every child needing our services, we must consistently recruit, train, and mentor volunteers.
The COVID-19 crisis has made our work even more vital for North Texas children. Due to social distancing and school closures, children have lost connections to their teachers, neighbors, and friends – the people who usually have eyes on them. This can very quickly turn into a dangerous and devastating situation for many children.
While most of us are struggling to adjust, these unknowns, anxieties, and continuous adjustments are things that foster children face daily under typical circumstances. Now, on top of the trauma these children have already endured, they are trapped in their homes with no outlet or protection. These children rely on CASA for their safety, to fight for them in court, and so much more.
Our dedicated team of staff and advocates are working around the clock to put eyes on these children. Our primary concern is their safety and well-being and we will do everything in our power to continue to protect the most vulnerable among us. We are the boots on the ground, fighting for these children, providing a voice when they cannot speak for themselves and sight when they cannot be seen.
While reports of child abuse are down, we know this does not mean abuse isn’t happening. In fact, the risk of abuse and neglect is increasing and the cases coming forth are much more severe in nature, due to the added stresses placed on families. While our work may not be visible because it is happening behind closed doors of foster homes, kinship placements, or treatment facilities, we are key to the recovery of the hundreds of children and families we serve. With support from our community, we can prepare for the unfortunate increase of cases expected and remain on the front lines.
There are numerous ways you can help us provide an unwavering voice for children impacted by abuse and neglect: sign up to be a CASA volunteer, donate to support our mission, join a committee, and follow us on social media. For more information on how you can help vulnerable children, please visit our website at casaofcollincounty.org.
* Graphic and photo provided by CASA Of Collin County