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Front Page October 24, 2017  RSS feed

Service for abused and neglected children now operating in Leon County

LEON AND MADISON COUNTIES, Texas (October 12, 2017) – Voices for Children, an established non-profit in the Brazos Valley, is now extending their services to Leon and Madison Counties. Voices for Children is a local branch of the national CASA program.

CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate and was originally established in Washington state in the 1970s. It has since grown from that first program to a network of nearly 1,000 CASA programs all over the nation, including 71 programs in Texas alone.

These programs are designed to recruit and train volunteers from the community to stand up in court and advocate for abused and neglected children in the foster care system. CASA volunteers undergo 33 hours of training, criminal and CPS background checks, and are sworn in as guardian ad litems by a local judge.

A guardian ad litem is someone appointed by the court to speak to what is in the best interest of a child. The guardian ad litem is charged to investigate, facilitate, and monitor the situation while the state is involved in the child’s life. The role of a CASA advocate is exactly that - the advocate will learn everything they can about the child or children on the case and then make informed recommendations to the court as to what is best for the child/children.

Anjuli “A.J.” Renold, Executive Director of Voices for Children, expands on the role of a CASA advocate - “The main goal is to reunite children with their parents, but sometimes that is not the best option. In that case, the advocate will work to identify the best alternative to find a safe and loving home. Children removed due to abuse or neglect deserve a trained advocate to watch over them as they move through the court process.”

Voices for Children was incorporated as an organization in 2000, with the first group of CASA advocates completing training in July 2001. Voices for Children expanded to include Grimes County in 2007 and Burleson County in 2009. The organization served 211 children in the past year, utilizing 87 volunteers from the Brazos Valley Community. The next advocate training starts in February 2018. To learn more about this great organization and their noble cause go to vfcbrazos.org.

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