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Recognizing Denton County’s most vulnerable citizens

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Texas Child Protective Services (CPS) has been in the news for failing to protect children in the state’s care.  No doubt this is tragic, but if we only focus on this issue when it is highly visible in the newspaper or on the morning news, it can be easy to miss the bigger picture.  There are many other stories that you don’t hear about in the news of the good work and safety that is provided to children in our community.

April is National Child Abuse Awareness Month and is a good time to commit or recommit to being a part of the solution for Denton County’s most vulnerable citizens. This month, and throughout the year, CASA of Denton County encourages all people in our community to come together to promote awareness of the child abuse and neglect that exists locally and to do something positive to help a child in need.

CASA of Denton County is one of 71 local CASA programs across Texas and one of 950 nationwide working to ensure that children placed in the foster care system due to abuse or neglect can have the safe, stable and nurturing environments they need to thrive. CASA programs recruit, train and work with everyday members of the community to speak up for the best interests of children in court to ensure that their individual needs are met while they are in foster care and that they are placed into loving, permanent homes as quickly as possible. These extraordinary people are called CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteers.

Last year, CASA of Denton County served 485 abused and neglected children from Denton County.  We were not, however, able to serve 83 children in need and you can help change that so every child in need has the blessing of a CASA advocate as they navigate the child welfare system locally. In a time when so many are focusing on the problems, CASA volunteers and supporters are taking a stand and are part of the solution.

There are some basic things you can do to be a part of the solution for children.  You can become educated about the signs of child abuse and neglect.  You can share with you have learned with others. You can learn about proposed legislation that affects children in foster care and be a voice for positive change.  You can report abuse to the statewide hotline (800-252-5400 orwww.txabusehotline.org).  You can leave a legacy of positive change by becoming a CASA volunteer.  One thing is for certain, the decision to do something positive for our community’s most vulnerable citizens is the right decision.  Author Garrison Keillor once wrote, “Nothing you do for children is ever wasted.”  How true.

For more information about CASA of Denton County and how you can help change a young life forever, visitwww.casadenton.org or call CASA at 940-243-2272.

Sherri Gideon

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