33rd District Court Judge Guilford Jones installed new Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for the Highland Lakes Area on Tuesday, May 11 in Kingsland. Pictured left to right are: Robert Landstrom, Carolyn Landstrom, Mary Dougherty, Judge Guilford Jones, Raymond Gonzalez and Wayne Tarver.
CASA volunteers are "Guardians Ad Litem," appointed by the Court. As a childs voice in court, CASAs advocate for abused and neglected children for approximately one year. The Court relies on the research and recommendations made by the advocate throughout the case. Volunteers attend 30 hours of classroom training and observe court for at least 3 hours before they are sworn in.
Volunteers get to know the children they are assigned to through monthly visits and phone calls. A volunteer is asked to visit his or her child at least once a month. They build relationships with the child to learn about needs and to make recommendations to the court in the best interest of the child. A volunteer is more likely to be the one constant person in the child’s life while they are in foster care. Judge Jones commented to the new volunteers, "it will be the most rewarding and heart wrenching volunteer job, you will ever have." He talked about the "crucial importance" CASA volunteers are to the children in foster care.
How do you get one of the best volunteer jobs you’ll ever have? Contact the office located in Kingsland at 325-388-3440. You will be asked to complete an application and undergo a background check.
CASA for the Highland Lakes serves five counties: Blanco, Burnet, Llano, Lampasas and San Saba. We currently have nearly 90 active volunteers and over 170 children in care. The count of children served rises monthly. Child abuse is an epidemic in our country, and our five county area is not excluded from that epidemic. Most of the new volunteers sworn in on Tuesday have been assigned a new child to work with. We must have volunteers from all counties. We have a great need for more volunteers from Blanco, Lampasas, and San Saba. Our volunteers are from every ethnicity, and profession. Please listen to your heart and call us to volunteer (325-388-3440).