Texas Speaker Straus Says Government Alone Can't Care for Foster Children, Commends CASA Volunteers for Speaking Up for Abused, Neglected Children

Oct 01, 2010, 17:20 ET from Texas CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates)

DALLAS, Oct. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Texas Speaker of the House Joe Straus on Thursday said government alone cannot adequately care for children in the foster care system and commended Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteers for speaking up for abused and neglected children.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20101001/DC75356)

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20101001/DC75356)

Straus' remarks came during the 21st annual Texas CASA Conference in Dallas.

Noting that much has been done in recent years to create a "compassionate and effective foster care system," Straus said volunteers are important to ensuring that the physical, emotional and educational needs of children in care are met.

"The truth is, government alone can't meet the needs of abused and neglected children, which is why the work that CASA volunteers do every day is so critical," said Straus.

"When our caseworkers are stretched thin and our judges are asked to make critical decisions about a child's life and safety, you serve as the court's eyes and ears," said Straus.

The speaker was greeted with a standing ovation by more than 500 volunteers, board members and staff from 69 local programs that train and support volunteer advocates to speak up for children in court. Straus was presented with the "Big Voice for Little Texans" award by Texas CASA for his leadership in the Texas Legislature to make sure that foster children are in safe homes.

CASA volunteers are specifically trained to advocate for children in foster care. Volunteer advocates get to know the child and speak to everyone involved in the child's life, including their family members, teachers, doctors, lawyers, social workers and others.

The information they gather and their recommendations help the court overseeing the cases make informed decisions. CASA volunteers commit to a child until the case is closed and the child is in a safe, permanent home.

Texas CASA is comprised of 69 local programs serving children in 204 Texas counties. More than 6,600 volunteers advocated for more than 21,000 children in foster care in Texas last year. Unfortunately, more than half the children in care do not have advocates to speak up for them in court.

For more information about becoming a CASA volunteer or your local program, please visit www.BecomeACASA.org.

Contact:  Katherine Kerr, Texas CASA Communications/PR Manager

(512) 705-7696

SOURCE Texas CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates)