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We all have memories from our childhood that stand out for us. Not first date/first car/first kiss memories; those are a given. I’m talking about tender family memories – like the time your dad taught you how to dance while you stood on his feet or when he showed you how to bait your own hook and you caught the only fish in the lake that day. Maybe it was the night you got your heart broken at prom and your mom was waiting up . . . like she knew you were going to need her or the time she ate every bite of that special noodle-tomato juice-ketchup dinner you made all by yourself and raved about how good it was, even though she hated ketchup.

We have memories of our room. Most of us graduate and leave home knowing we’ll be back and at least for a while, our room will still be there. Random stuffed animals litter the bed and remnants of our childhood sit on shelves and cover the walls. It was a place where dreams were born, where some shattered and others were realized; a place of adventure and quiet refuge. It was our room.

Ask an adult foster child what their stand out memory is and you’ll probably get a puzzled look as they scramble through years of placement memories to find something appropriate to share. It might be the day he and his siblings were separated and placed in foster homes in different cities or the dank but distinct smell of a court room waiting area. And the idea of going back home to your old room for the holidays is about as likely as going to the moon.

Going through foster care isn’t easy. With every placement, there’s new foster parents, new family members, new schools and new rooms. Nothing is consistent.

Unless he has a CASA. CASA volunteers do not house foster children; instead, they are a powerful voice for a child or sibling group, representing their best interests in court and other settings. They spend significant time getting to know the child and gaining his or her trust. They gather information from everyone involved in his or her daily life, including family members, foster parents, teachers, doctors and social workers. CASA volunteers use the information they gather to report to the judge, advocating for the child’s physical and emotional needs. The CASA volunteers guide them through an overburdened and complex foster care system with the end goal of reaching a safe and permanent home.

Mission Granbury’s CASA Program wants to make sure every foster child in Hood and Somervell Counties has a CASA volunteer to help them on their journey. Sadly, the number of children entering foster care is increasing at an alarming rate, which magnifies our need for CASA volunteers.

CASA volunteers come from all walks of life and do not need any special background or education. Volunteers must be at least 21 years old, able to pass criminal and CPS background checks, willing to commit to at least one year of advocacy, be effective communicators, orally and in writing, and be willing to participate in an in-depth training program that we provide.

Remember how it felt to look up from the football field, recital or band concert to see that familiar face in the stands? That’s how a foster child feels when they look out over the sea of ever changing faces in the foster care system and see their CASA. You can be that constant in a child’s life.

Call 817-579-6866 for information.

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