Volunteers for CASA are courts' eyes, ears

Published on Saturday, 8 February 2014 21:15 - Written by By Danny Mogle danny@inmagtexas.com

CASA for Kids of East Texas is looking for more volunteers to serve in its new office located in the Mineola First United Methodist Church Ministry Center, 612 N. Newsom, Mineola.

An open house is set from 1 to 3 p.m. March 3.

“At least 15 more volunteers are needed in Wood Coun-ty,” said Di-rector Patty Garner in a news release. “This open house is a great opportunity for the public to learn more about how they can get involved in this vital work.”

Last year, 14 CASA advocates spoke out for 60 abused or neglected children in Wood County, according to the news release.

CASA — Court Appointed Special Advocates — provides volunteers trained to represent the best interest of children who are in protective foster care. The volunteers review the case and then make recommendations to the judge about the best option for the child’s living arrangement. Advocates then monitor the ongoing situation to make sure the child remains safe.

“CASA volunteers are the eyes, ears and sometimes the arms of the court,” information posted on CASA for Kids of East Texas website said. “The results are dramatic. Studies show that when a child has a CASA volunteer, they are more likely to be adopted, rather than languish in long-term foster care. They are also more likely to receive needed services, such as therapy, health care and education.”

In East Texas, CASA has been representing the best interest of children since 1990 and remains the only organization in Smith, Van Zandt and Wood Counties providing the service.

A staff of 10 and a board of directors oversee operations. More volunteers are needed to serve as advocates.

For more information, go to the CASA for Kids of East Texas

website, www.casaforkids

ofet.org, or call 903-597-7725.