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12.02.2016

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Five Ways Our Advocates Make a Difference

Without our Advocates, our mission of safe, permanent homes for every child in San Antonio would not be possible. Here are five ways that our volunteers make a difference for the children in Bexar County foster care system. 

1.    CASA Advocates give a voice to abuse and neglected youth.
Our Advocates work endlessly to ensure the youth they serve do not fall through the cracks of an overburdened system. In Bexar County, we have roughly 5,000 youth in the foster care system – the third highest number in the state of Texas; these children are often overlooked. 
Our Advocates provide the judge with a carefully researched background of the child to help the court make a sound decision about the child's future. By speaking up for our CASA kids and combatting the injustices they face, CASA volunteers work to prevent our youth from becoming another statistic. 
 
2.    CASA Advocates hold the hands of children as they venture through the foster care system.
Familiarity is crucial when it comes to building positive, healthy relationships. Our Advocates provide our CASA kids a sense of constancy as they walk through the foster care system and provide them emotional support. CASA volunteers are there from the beginning to the end of a case, making sure the child has at least one familiar face throughout the entire process.

Caseworker positions in San Antonio experience a high turnover, which creates a revolving door of people entering the lives of our vulnerable youth. At CASA, we believe constancy is key, which is why we require a minimum 12-month commitment from incoming volunteers. Our Advocates are a source of reliability when these children need it the most.

3.    CASA Advocates ensure our children are receiving the best services possible.

We don’t call our volunteers “Advocates” for no reason; our volunteers advocate for services to improve lives of the children we serve. Our volunteers know their CASA kids on a rare, personal level and oftentimes know what they need, before anyone else. Our volunteers are able to ask the court to order therapy sessions, medical, dental, and educational attention, among other life-changing services.  Children with CASA volunteers are more likely to receive these services because they have an Advocate ensuring and tirelessly working to make sure it goes through.

4.    CASA Advocates act as fact-finders for the judge.

As our volunteers build their relationships with their CASA kids, they are also serving as the “eyes and ears” for the judge. Our volunteers attend court hearings with their supervisors to promote the child’s best interest. Advocates talk with the child, parents, family members, caseworkers, school officials, health providers, therapists, and others who are knowledgeable about the child's history. Advocates review school, medical and caseworker reports and other documents regarding the child during the time the child is in foster care.  The judges highly value this information and use it to make the best possible decision for the children they oversee.  In fact, our judges so greatly appreciate the information that they agree with our volunteers’ recommendations 97% of the time.

5.    CASA Advocates improve the quality of life for the youth they serve.

On average, children with a CASA volunteer are likely to spend less time in foster care, see a drastic increase in grades, and find a safe, permanent home 8-months sooner than those without an Advocate. Read some of our favorite successes here.

If you are interested in making an impact in Bexar County, and seeking a rewarding volunteer opportunity, check out our website, www.casa-satx.org. If you’d like to offer your support in the form of a donation, you may do so here. Every voice and every dollar makes a difference!

Five Ways Our Advocates Make a Difference