by Anayeli Ruiz
ODESSA - CASA is in dire need of volunteers. With one of the highest rates of children going into foster care in the state, they need more help. They're hoping to get more of a racially diverse group of volunteers.
"Ector County has one of the highest rates of children going into foster care per capita in the state," CASA Executive Director, Lynn White-Gysler, said.
CASA volunteers are advocates for children that are abused and neglected and are under the protection of the court. Right now, CASA of the Permian Basin Area says they have over 380 cases. But they don't have enough volunteers for every child, they are only able to help 84 cases, that's 176 kids and the cases keep on coming.
"There has been a huge increase in kids going into foster care," White-Gysler said.
Because they don't have enough volunteers for all of these kids, they are mostly assigned to the toughest cases, that leaves other abused kids without a voice in court.
"She knows that we can make a big impact on those and most of the time it's not a family that has maybe one child that has been verbally abused. It's probably going to have three or four kids, sexual, physical or neglect. Alot of the kids are born addicted to drugs," White-Gysler said.
Not only are they needing more volunteers in general but they hope that a more racially diverse group steps up to help these kids. Since children are usually more comfortable with someone of their same race.
"We need a more racially diversified volunteer race because most of our kids are some other race than Caucasian probably two thirds of our cases are that. It would really be nice to have a whole different cross section of ethnicity to be able to relate to these kids culturally," White-Gysler said.
If you like to volunteer, you can contact CASA of Midland or Odessa or you can go to becomeacasa.org and help kids in your county.