As preparations for the holidays begin, more than 400 children from Denton County will be spending Thanksgiving and Christmas with people who are not their families because they are in foster care.
“At a time when most families get together and celebrate their bonds, for children in the foster care system, the holidays can be a difficult time which highlights their separation from parents and relatives,” said Sherri Gideon, executive director of CASA of Denton County, Inc.
CASA of Denton County, Inc. (Court Appointed Special Advocates) trains and support volunteers who advocate for children in the foster care system. The volunteers’ role is to help the children move from the foster care system into safe, permanent, loving homes as quickly as possible.
“We have children who have been uprooted from their families and then moved repeatedly in the foster care system. Regardless of how difficult their home lives were before, it is extremely tough for these children during the holiday season when many of them are spending it with people who until recently had been strangers,” Gideon said.
CASA volunteers are professionally trained to advocate for children in foster care. The information they gather and their recommendations help the court overseeing the cases make informed decisions during their time in foster care and even beyond. A CASA volunteer commits to one child or sibling group until the case is closed and the children are in a safe, permanent home.
CASA of Denton County, Inc. is a member of Texas CASA and the United Ways of Metropolitan Dallas and Denton County. Through the generosity of 134 CASA volunteers, CASA of Denton County served 451 abused or neglected children last year alone. This represents 80 percent of the children removed from their homes in Denton County due to abuse or neglect. Of course, CASA of Denton County’s vision is to serve every child in the community by 2016.
This can only be achieved through members of the community standing up to speak for children who have no voice. For more information, visit www.casadenton.org or call the office at 940-243-2272. The next advocate training session will begin on Friday, Feb. 13, 2015.
Sherri Gideon is the executive director of CASA of Denton County, Inc.