MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - CASA of West Texas has seen an extreme influx of child abuse cases in March.
“The children that are assigned to us are children that have been removed from their families by child protective services. So once they go into foster care, one of our volunteers gets appointed by the judge to advocate for that child,” said CASA volunteer recruiter Kathy Harmon.
Volunteers of CASA typically support 10 to 20 child abuse cases per month, but last month that number has been doubled.
“We’ve just had a huge influx and most of our cases area related to drugs, alcohol and domestic violence but in March, we had 43 cases.”
An influx so extreme, it’s already left a child without an advocate to support them in court.
“We don’t have enough volunteers. And we’ve already turned down one case in Andrews because we didn’t have enough volunteers. And that means that child is going to have to go through the child welfare system without an advocate," said Harmon.
According to The Department of Family and Protective Services, just last year in Texas there were over 66,000 confirmed cases of child abuse and neglect. This means almost every eight minutes, a child became a victim. CASA of West Texas covers 7 counties, with Midland being the largest.
“With these new cases, we need volunteers more than ever right now,” said Harmon.
On April 22 Midland Courthouse will be swearing in 14 new volunteers, but those volunteers have already been assigned child abuse cases.
If you’re interested in combating child abuse in West Texas and becoming a volunteer, visit www.casawtx.org.