Time is truly a relative concept. Adults often wish for time to relax, want more time to accomplish our goals, and wonder what has happened to our time the older we get. But children experience time much differently. Can you remember being 8 years old and waiting for your birthday, which you are told will be in a week? Or how about being sent to your room to await your punishment/consequences after misbehaving? For children, time passes so slowly…especially when they are waiting.
Children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse/neglect do so much waiting. “They are pulled out of their own homes, although only to protect them, and taken away from everything that is familiar. They are then oftentimes taken to the home of total strangers, with rooms, siblings, parents, rules, belongings that are not theirs. They have so much anxiety, so much grief and loss to deal with, but they are not given time to deal with any of it for they must be enrolled in school right away and face another world of new and unfamiliar. They hope they will only be away from home for a day, but it soon turns into much more,” explained Michelle Wells, executive director for CASA in the Heart of Texas. Can you imagine how time feels to these children?
Currently in Texas, it is summertime. Most children are enjoying the break from school, many have vacations to go on with their families…making memories. Unfortunately, the children in the foster care system get no summer break from the uncertainty and anxiety that is their life.
CASA in the Heart of Texas seeks out, trains, and supports volunteers from the community who decide to make time in their lives for these children. A Court Appointed Special Advocate brings time and focus to their case, assessing the needs of their appointed child or children, and advocating for those needs to be met. They always remember the child’s sense of time and advocate hard for that to be honored. Until the child is out of temporary care and has permanency, the anxiety never goes away. A CASA fights hard for that permanency to be achieved as quickly as possible.
At this time CASA in the Heart of Texas is seeking volunteers, and the need is urgent. “Not only are there too many children in care who do not have a CASA volunteer, we will soon be unable to take on any new cases of children until we have new volunteers available,” stated Joanne McCraw, recruiter/trainer for the agency. If you could devote some time for a child, please visit BecomeaCASA.org or casabrownwood.org for more information. Applications can be filled out online. Feel free to call CASA staff at 325-643-2557 or email Joanne@casabrownwood.org. Time is of the essence. Every child has a chance – it’s you.
The next CASA 101: Information Session in Comanche will be held Tuesday, July 30th at 5:30 PM at Mattdaddy’s Restaurant on the courthouse square. Join us to learn more about what it means to become a Court Appointed Special Advocate.