WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - Court Appointed Special Advocates, also known as CASA of Red River, is in dire need of volunteers to advocate for children going through foster care.
CASA serves 400 kids across Wichita Falls and three other surrounding counties.
“It’s very important for our children to have a volunteer to spend time with and be a voice for them in court,” said James Bolding, Executive Director CASA of Red River.
Right now, CASA of Red River only has 60 cases but staff members say next week that could be 80; with only 100 volunteers, it’s not enough to fulfill the need.
“We do have a great team here with staff that are able to step in and help with these cases but it doesn’t replace the volunteer. The volunteer is the key element that makes what we do our mission,” said Bolding.
Volunteers who are already with program say they decided to volunteer to make sure other kids wouldn’t have to go through the same things they experienced as a child.
“It’s helped me a lot too. It’s helped me kind of deal with some of my stuff and I’ve talked with my kids about some of my stuff and they’re like ‘oh it’s not just me.’ It makes them feel less alone,” said Brandon Mundt, CASA of Red River volunteer.
For volunteers like Mundt, COVID-19 forced him to make phone calls and use Zoom to stay in touch with his kids until he could finally meet them in person.
“It’s about a three and a half hour trip for me to go see my kids. I am able to take them off of their campus and take them somewhere like McDonald’s or even Walmart to walk around and get a bit of normalcy,” said Mundt.
However, the mission of CASA goes beyond the courtroom.
“How do we get them a job? How do we get them a drivers license so they can get a job and have some experience? So when they age out they’re not homeless, that’s a scary thought for me as a volunteer,” said Mundt.
There is training to become a CASA volunteer; you need 30 hours of class time where you learn how to recognize childhood trauma and write reports that will reviewed in court.
While CASA is in need of all volunteers, they are specifically looking for males to help relate to young men going through the foster care system.
To find out more information on CASA volunteer, visits their website.