As part of March’s National Social Work Month celebration, CASA of Liberty/Chambers Counties, recognizes and appreciates the social workers, advocates and others who devote their careers to bettering the lives of others.
Social workers strive to build a stronger community for all people, and CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates®) is a proud partner in the effort to create a brighter future for children and families involved in the child welfare system.
“Social workers are the lifeblood of the child welfare system, from caseworkers, to therapists, to child placing agency staff,” said Terry Patterson, Program Director of CASA of Liberty/Chambers Counties. “Collaboration and partnership are key values in the social work field, and we share those values here at CASA.”
CASA volunteers with CASA of Liberty/Chambers Counties are community members who are trained to advocate for children in foster care. They work with the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) and other key child welfare advocates and professionals to ensure that the children they serve are safe and well. They get to know the child and speak with everyone involved in the child’s life, including their parents, family, and caseworker, foster parents, therapists and others, so that they can make informed recommendations to the court about the child’s best interest.
One specific way CASA volunteers and caseworkers in Texas are working together to improve the lives of children and their families is through Collaborative Family Engagement (CFE), a statewide Family Finding partnership with DFPS that creates and strengthens supportive lifetime networks around children and their families. Studies have found that one of the strongest indicators of child well-being is the number of present, caring and reliable adults in the child’s life. According to Karen Foyil, CASA’s Collaborative Family Engagement Coordinator, “CASA volunteers, DFPS and others work together to build an adult support system for these children and their families – consisting of family members, family friends, teachers, mentors, neighbors, coaches and others – that will last even after the case is closed.”
“CASA volunteers’ primary focus is family reunification for the children they serve whenever safe and possible,” said CASA Executive Director, Kimberly Stephens. “Working together to create and strengthen a supportive network for children and their families helps increase the likelihood for sustainable reunifications to happen.”
As CFE is rolling out across Texas, the child welfare system is also undergoing major statewide reform – reform that will require more communication and collaboration between CASA, DFPS and other groups than ever before. In 2017, the state began transitioning to Community-Based Care, a sweeping system transformation that is gradually shifting foster care and case management services from the state to private, nonprofit contractors.
“As Community-Based Care rolls out across the state and more and more agencies get involved, we see a lot of opportunity – both to forge new relationships and strengthen current ones,” said Stephens. “In the spirit of National Social Work Month, CASA of Liberty/Chambers Counties and our dedicated volunteers will continue to focus on the strengths of those we serve – in every conversation, every new partnership we forge, every action and every case.”
You don’t need to be a social worker to be a CASA volunteer. You just need to have the desire to make a difference – just like our colleagues in the social work field. For more information, visit http://www.casalctx.org. Information sessions are offered weekly, on Thursdays at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Please email Melanie Cotten at firstname.lastname@example.org to register or call 409-781-8035 for more information.
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