Texas Child Protective Services (CPS) has been in the news lately for failing to protect children in the state’s care. If we only focus on this issue when it is in the news, it can be easy to miss the bigger picture.
This April, as we observe National Child Abuse Prevention Month, we must recommit ourselves to ending the vicious cycle of abuse and to standing up for every child too young to speak for themselves.
This month, and throughout the year, Frontier CASA encourages residents of Pecos County to come together to promote awareness of the child abuse and neglect that exists in our local communities.
Frontier CASA is one of 71 CASA programs across Texas that works to ensure all children in foster care because of abuse or neglect are in safe, stable and nurturing environments they need to heal and to thrive. CASA programs recruit, train and support volunteers in the community to speak up for children in court and to work to get them placed into loving, permanent homes as quickly as possible. These extraordinary people are called CASA (court appointed special advocate) volunteers.
Children in foster care experience a tremendous amount of change and instability. Often they don’t have a consistent adult that they can rely on — someone to keep them safe and make sure their voices are heard. Children who have a CASA volunteer spend less time in foster care and are more likely to get the help they need.
CASA volunteers get to know the child and gather information from everyone involved in his or her daily life, including family members, foster parents, teachers, doctors and social workers. CASA volunteers use the information they gather to report to the judge, advocating for the child’s physical and emotional needs
The future of Texas relies on the healthy growth and development of all children. As we mark National Child Abuse Prevention Month, I invite residents, community and faith groups, schools, government agencies and businesses in our communities to be part of the solution, to support families and to prevent child abuse and strengthen our entire community.
If you see abuse, report it to 800-252-5400 or txabusehotline.org. If a child’s life is in danger, call 9-1-1.
If you want to leave a legacy of positive change, become a CASA volunteer. For more information call 432-837-7448 or contact us at FrontierCASA.org, Facebook.com/FrontierCASA or FrontierCASA@gmail.com.
Every child has a chance — it’s you.
Conrad J. Arriola is executive director of Frontier CASA, the offices of which are in Alpine.