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CASA of the Sabine Neches Region issues a Call to Arms for volunteers in response to the predicted impact of COVID-19

To The Leader

CASA of the Sabine Neches Region is in critical need for more dedicated members of the community to step up and become CASA volunteers, and help break the cycle of abuse and neglect, through supporting children and families.

Locally, CASA of the Sabine Neches Region served 183 children in the foster care system in Orange, Hardin, Jasper, Newton, Sabine and Tyler Counties in 2019, which means 589 children were left without a CASA to advocate for them. There is still a tremendous need for CASA volunteers, and the need is most critical now, more than ever. Reports of family violence in China, where the novel coronavirus originated, have reportedly tripled since the pandemic began. It is expected our area will experience the same phenomenon in the coming months. During periods of natural disasters, financial stress or global panics such as viral pandemics, studies show that abusers become more violent in an attempt to feel a sense of control.

CASA of the Sabine Neches Region is doing everything we can to encourage our community to take notice and report suspected abuse, but we need to prepare for a significant increase in case numbers in the wake of this crisis.

We are making the plea to our communities to suit up and prepare to be the voice for the most vulnerable among us.

CASA volunteers, or Court Appointed Special Advocates, are everyday people who are recruited and specially trained to advocate for children in foster care and provide a consistent, reliable adult presence for them during a difficult time in their life.

Often the most difficult and time-consuming part of becoming a CASA Volunteer is finding time to attend the 30 hours of in-person classroom training.

To prepare CASA Volunteers to answer the call in the aftermath of the current public health crisis, we are offering a new semi-flexible pre-service training in an online interactive virtual environment.

Registration is currently open and closes at 5 p.m. on March 26, 2020.

Classes begin April 10 and continue through May 14.

The training occurs in five sessions. Each session contains approximately three hours of self-guided work that participants complete online over the course of three days. On Thursday evening of each week the group of participants will attend an online three-hour interactive virtual classroom session lead by a facilitator.

The online sessions introduce the participants to the key elements for CASA volunteer work, allow them to interact with others, explore new ideas, and obtain tools for effective child advocacy. The virtual classroom sessions use case studies to introduce participants to a variety of dynamics including poverty, mental health issues, substance abuse, domestic violence, etc. By using this method, volunteers not only obtain experience with different types of cases but also in how to complete a thorough investigation.

We at CASA of the Sabine Neches Region always hope for the day when CASA Volunteers are no longer needed because all children are growing up safe, secure and supported with their families. Until then, we will continue to seek more members of the community to help grow our movement so that we can provide a CASA volunteer for every child who needs one.

To Register and/or learn more about Volunteer Pre-Service Training, please visit www.casasnr.org/virtual-training

To learn more about becoming a CASA Volunteer call us at (409) 886-2272, email dmoffett@casasnr.org or visit our website at www.casasnr.org