Since 1993, the volunteers at the Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children of Grayson County have made it their mission to ensure that abused children in court are not alone in the adversity they must confront. The organization recently welcomed a new executive director, Shane Hill, to help accomplish CASA’s goal of “being a big voice for little Texans.”
As a CASA volunteer for the previous four years, Hill knows first hand the importance of the organization.
“To the judges, we are invaluable since we are volunteers from the community and we provide an objective set of eyes,” said Hill, who took over the position in October of 2012. To the children, CASA is an invaluable service that provides trained volunteers who are appointed by a district judge to act as guardians for abused and neglected children and to speak for them in court.
Hill’s vision for the organization remains true to its mission statement of securing permanent placement for a child in a safe, nurturing home. “We want to have a measurable effect on the community and lessen child abuse in our area,” he said.
Despite the small permanent staff of four workers, CASA handles a large volume of cases. In 2012, CASA was involved in 132 cases of child abuse and was active in every case where the child was ordered by a judge to be removed from his or her family and placed in custody of the state. Currently, the non-profit is handling 50 cases that involve 80 children total. Any child who does not get placed in foster care for whatever reason will continue to have the guidance and support of a guardian from CASA until the child reaches the age of 18.
Like many other advocacy groups in the area, CASA is a non-profit that is funded through grants and local foundations such as the United Way. In addition to this, the organization receives vital monetary help through its one and only fundraiser, the Annual Chocolate Indulgence Fundraiser, which is held in February. This year, the elegant event will be on Feb. 9 at Willowood Ranch in Bells, from 7 to 11 p.m.
“It’s our big one,” said Hill of the fundraiser. “It gives people a chance to dress up for a nice evening and to contribute to an important service for children in our area.
“The children end up in a system where they are not at fault and they are not in control,” said Hill. “They don’t have a voice. We give them that voice.”
For more information regarding CASA of Grayson County or its annual Chocolate Indulgence Fundraiser, telephone 903-813-5400.