Fannin County Children's Center in need of volunteers - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Fannin County Children's Center in need of volunteers

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BONHAM, TX – The need for volunteers changes each year depending on how many cases the center sees. Executive Director Sandy Barber told me they've seen three cases within the last week alone, but no more volunteers.

"The casa volunteer sometimes is the one person that knows that child's history," said Barber, "that knows where that child is and when that child sees that person, that's the familiar face to them."

CASA stands for court appointed special advocate. When a child is no longer safe at home, the court will appoint a volunteer to represent that child's best interests.

"An advocate is basically the judge's eyes and ears and it's their job to go out and learn all the information they can," said Sandy Hood, the program coordinator. "They're like little detectives and they go out and they visit the child, they visit the foster home, they visit the parents and relatives."

Hood says she sees the children who have advocates benefit greatly.

"I'm just in awe over what CASA advocates do because they're not paid," said Hood. "They're volunteers. And the children know this. And so it's even more special to the children to know that someone cares about them that's not in a paid position."

Barber says the center will host an open house on April 22nd as an attempt to get people in the community more involved.  

"One of the other reasons we do all this outreach and stuff, is that we need to recruit volunteers," said Barber. "One of most urgent needs right now is needing CASA volunteers."

Hood tells KTEN that the required thirty-four training is extensive.

"By the time they graduate and get ready to be sworn in by Judge Blake, they're excited," said Hood. "They're ready to work a case and be there for a child or a sibling group."

Interested volunteers must be 21 years old and pass background checks. The next training sessions are May 6th, 13th and the 20th. Barber says most advocates hold down full time jobs while volunteering, putting in ten to 15 hours a month.