April named child abuse awareness month

A display on the Cooke County Courthouse lawn depicts the number of Cooke County children in foster care in 2018. Elected officials, law enforcement, Child Protective Services workers, Child Advocacy Center volunteers and staff, and CASA volunteers, staff and board members are standing with the display.

As Cooke County United Way continues the public portion of its annual fundraising campaign, recipients of United Way funding in previous years say donations to the organization are crucial to keeping their efforts going.

Court Appointed Special Advocates of North Texas is an agency of volunteer advocates that serve as the voice of abused and neglected children. They work with attorneys, social workers, Child Protective Services, parents and teachers to ensure that the decisions made in each case reflect the best interest of the child. As with any nonprofit agency, CASA relies on funding to keep its doors open.

CASA has been receiving funding from United Way since its second year of operation, meaning that the nonprofit organization has been a United Way agency for nearly 18 years, according to CASA Executive Director Vicki Robertson.

Robertson did not disclose the amount of funding received each quarter from United Way, but stated that “United Way currently funds about 4% of our budget and has played an important role in our ability to provide Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) to look out for the best interests of abused and neglected children we serve. Without their assistance, we’d be hard-pressed to fulfill our responsibilities to the children and our advocates.” 

The United Way has an allocation committee that determines the level of funding to award to an organization and how it is to be spent. In CASA’s case, funding received from United Way helps keep the utilities on, helps pay for advocate training and helps pay portions of expenses that aren’t covered by other funding, according to Robertson. 

“All costs are associated with the recruitment and training of advocates for the 200-plus children we serve per year,” Robertson said. “The application process is about the same as other funders. It’s not a difficult process, but it’s a thorough one. They require that we show them that we’re handling the funds in a responsible manner.” 

“We’ve always found United Way to truly care about the needs of the children we serve. They step up in every way they can to help us make a difference in the lives of our little ones,” Robertson said. 

To volunteer with CASA of North Texas, apply at www.casant.org or call 940-665-2244 for more information.

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