CASA gets award from Texas Bar Foundation

CASA of Grayson County, Inc. has been approved for a grant in the amount of $4,500 by the Texas Bar Foundation. Since its inception in 1965, the Texas Bar Foundation has awarded more than $14 million in grants to law-related programs. Supported by members of the State Bar of Texas, the Texas Bar Foundation is the nation’s largest charitably-funded foundation. This money will be used to expand services for abused and neglected children in Grayson County.

The stated mission of Court Appointed Special Advocates is to provide trained, court-appointed volunteers who investigate, monitor, and serve as advocates in court to help abused and neglected children find permanent placement in safe, nurturing homes.

“CASA volunteers work to make a difference in the lives of these families – to try to help break the old mold, and create new positive lifestyles,” said Jana Garner, executive director of CASA.

An advocate serves in two roles—first as a fact-finder for the judge who has appointed CASA to the case, second as “a voice in court” representing the child’s best interest.

“Volunteers are the backbone of our program,” said Garner. “Without them, it would be impossible for CASA to meet the needs of the children, to adequately advocate for them in the various institutions and systems.

“However, it isn’t just the children who benefit from this volunteerism,” she added. “CASA volunteers find that through our agency they have the opportunity to learn more about the judicial system, social services, and other disciplines that create the team to care for these children. Additionally, volunteers have the opportunity to enhance skills they already possess, and develop new ones.”

All CASA volunteers receive more than 30 hours of in-depth training, plus an additional 12 hours of continuing education per year through in-services, lectures, videos, and books. Upon completion of the initial training, CASA volunteers then become sworn officers of the court.

CASA holds one to two training sessions per year. Potential volunteers must be 21 years of age or older, and possess no criminal record. CASA welcomes volunteers from all cultures, professions, and ethnic and educational backgrounds.

Applications may be requested by calling the CASA office at (903) 813-5400, or potential volunteers may pick up an application at the office located at 100 N. Travis, Suite 302, Sherman, Texas 75090.