According to Dallas CASA President and CEO Kathleen M. LaValle,
“Recently, our advocate Karla H. received a phone call from Jasmine, a teen Karla had previously served. Jasmine had aged out of care, but she was being trafficked in Austin and didn’t know who else to call. She was frightened and alone in an unfamiliar city with no transportation.
“Jasmine’s case file shows how challenging her road had been: neglect by her mentally ill biological parent, an abusive adoptive parent, suicidal ideation, overdoses, constant placement changes and her own mental health challenges. She ran away from CPS custody three days before her 18th birthday, longing for freedom and adulthood.
“Jasmine’s case is far too common. Dallas CASA’s trained and supervised volunteers advocate for children and youth who have experienced abuse or neglect and are living in the protective care of the state. The role is not an easy one, but thanks to the tremendous support of the Dallas community, Dallas CASA can provide an advocate for every Dallas child in foster care who needs one.
“Days like Communities Foundation of Texas’ North Texas Giving Day allow Dallas CASA to expand our services and meet children where their needs are. We are committed to protecting children and restoring childhood.
“When Jasmine called Karla from Austin, she said she had met a man who took her to Austin claiming he loved her, but she was now being trafficked. She had escaped the man, but he had her belongings. Karla reached out to her supervisor at Dallas CASA, who tapped into resources at Dallas CASA and beyond. With Karla’s help, Dallas CASA staff and law enforcement, working with Austin and Dallas-based Traffick911 staff, brought Jasmine back to Dallas the next day.
“Because of the relationship we’ve built over the years, she knows she can call me when she’s in trouble,” Karla said. ‘I don’t always know what to do, but I can find out. She’s depending on other people to help her, and that makes her vulnerable.’
“Just last week, Karla received a call from Jasmine who shared that she is living with her older brother, who also grew up in foster care, and told Karla she’s ‘doing okay.’ Karla remains hopeful that Jasmine can find the stability that has eluded her for so long.
“Every dollar donated on North Texas Giving Day helps recruit, train and support more advocates like Karla. In 2022, Dallas CASA had 1,324 volunteers who served 2,611 children in the protective care of the state. Thanks to the incredible support of our community and friends like you, 2,611 children in 2022 knew the transformational impact of an advocate dedicated just to them.”
* Photo credit: Kristina Bowman Photography ** Graphic/photo provided by Dallas CASA
In 14 years, Communities Foundation of Texas’ North Texas Giving Day has pumped more than $503 million into the North Texas community. In 2022, more than $62.6 million was raised through 94,385 donors benefiting over 3,210 area nonprofits.