Amarillo Area CASA seeks volunteers for foster kids after decrease in January

    Amarillo Area CASA seeks volunteers for foster kids after decrease in January. (ABC 7 Amarillo Darra Cunningham)

    Amarillo Area CASA is seeking more CASA volunteers to help children who have been abused or neglected. CASA Volunteers work with the judge to better inform them about the foster child's case. The process requires taking CASA 101 classes which will offer 30 hours of training.

    Sharon and Lee Carter are retired educators and they have volunteered with CASA for 10 years.

    "Every age level has their rewards, it's just a way to make a good connection," said Sharon. "These kids have been removed from their homes temporarily and are in a tough spot, so they need an adult they can count on ."

    But it often takes time for advocates, like the Carters, to develop a relationship with the child they represent. Amarillo Area Casa Director of Recruitment & Training Kelsi Vines tells ABC 7 that can lead to volunteer drop out.

    "Sometimes I see volunteers that are new getting frustrated that within a couple of months the child doesn't trust them with all the information that the volunteer would want so they drop off," said Vines.

    The organization currently serves 320 children but only has 115 volunteers.

    "We have had, I believe, five to six new cases within the last week and each of those cases, I believe, only two of those cases had single cases and the rest were sibling groups," said Vines.

    This means they are not sure how many children will be assigned to the volunteer but it could be a lot. Lee said the rewards of being able to show kids there are adults who truly care about their safety and well-being outweigh the challenges.

    "You just don't realize what the home life is behind the acting out of the children," said Lee. " "It was wonderful to me as a principal to be a male role model but then to carry through as a male CASA volunteer has also provided an opportunity to show children what the relationship with a father or a grandfather is like."

    Vines said they are hoping to gain at least 25 more volunteers. CASA 101 classes are hosted once every month except for in April. If you would like to get involved please follow the link.

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