CASA Announces Black/African American Volunteer Recruiting Event
By CASA of Tarrant County
Posted on October 21, 2020, October 21, 2020

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CASA of Tarrant County will host a special virtual information session on Thurs., Oct. 27 at 6 p.m. for African American community members interested in learning more about becoming a volunteer CASA (court appointed special advocate) for abused and neglected children in Tarrant County (children who have been removed from their homes and placed into foster care).

During the session, prospective volunteers will have an opportunity to find out more about CASA’s mission, its impact in the Tarrant County community and the need for additional African American volunteers. Other topics will include the CASA volunteer application and training process, the types of activities and time commitment involved with advocacy, and generally what to expect while working child welfare cases. African American staff members and volunteer advocates working current or recent cases will be on hand to answer questions and provide “real world” insights about the challenges and rewards of the overall CASA volunteer experience.

The Need for CASA Volunteers:

There are more than 51,000 children in the Texas child welfare system. Of these children, about 30% of are White, nearly 42% are Hispanic, and 21% are Black. In 2019, 661 children in Tarrant County were removed from their homes and placed in foster care. Of those 661 children, approximately 44% were identified as African American; yet only 9% of CASA advocates identify similarly.

“Black youth in foster care are some of the most disenfranchised and vulnerable populations in our community,” said Tracy Williams, a Child Advocacy Specialist for CASA of Tarrant County. “In addition to dealing with the emotional and physical trauma associated with abuse and neglect, these youth are also dealing with the psychological trauma associated with the institutionalized racism that pervades so many of our systems. They need to have advocates who understand this dynamic from personal experience, which is why we need more Black and African American volunteers, more people of color from our community to speak up for children in foster care.”

“The issues and situations involved in child welfare cases are often sensitive and complex,” added LaZedrick Blackshire, a CASA of Tarrant County Child Advocacy Specialist. “It’s important for children who are in foster care to have an advocate that they can relate to, someone who looks like them to help them navigate the challenges of the child welfare system during a time in their life that may be confusing, uncertain, or even frightening.”

Blackshire said that while the organization has a critical need for additional African American volunteers in general, there is a particular need for additional male volunteers, across the board. “More than 84% of our volunteer advocates in Tarrant County are women, but about 50% of children in foster care are identified as male,” he said. “We seek to diversify our volunteer base in all respects, not only because we want to provide advocates that children in foster care can relate to, but because we know that organizations achieve the best results possible when there is a diversity of perspectives and experiences at the table.”

Williams said that she hopes that anyone who is interested in knowing more about CASA will attend the upcoming session, even if they’re not sure they are ready to apply for volunteer training. “Sometimes people feel called to step up, but they hesitate because they don’t think they have the right skills or enough time,” Williams explained. “The fact is that you don’t need any special skills to be a CASA—other than a heart to help vulnerable kids and a willingness to learn—and the time commitment is typically quite manageable. The information sessions are excellent opportunities to ask questions about both of these topics, and in return hear ‘real-life’ insights from actual CASAs.”

How CASA Works:

Typically, CASA volunteers complete 30 hours of training, including 21 hours of in-person training, before being sworn in during a court ceremony. They are then assigned to new child welfare cases as designated by the family court, where their role is to advocate for the best interest of the child(ren) as the case moves through the court system. CASAs are also charged with making a recommendation to the court regarding the child’s permanent placement—reunification with the family, placement with relatives, long-term foster care placement, adoption, etc.

Examples of advocate activities include visiting children in foster care settings, talking with family members and other care providers (such as teachers), coordinating with court appointed attorneys and case workers, and writing court reports.

While current conditions prevail, prospective CASA volunteers will complete interviews and training in virtual environments, and active volunteers have the option to carry out their responsibilities through video conferencing, phone calls, and similar methods. 

Volunteer Requirements:

Prospective CASA volunteers must be at least 21 years old, complete an initial interview, and pass a background check before being approved for advocate training.

More Information:

North Texans interested in learning more about or registering for the special Oct. 29 volunteer information session or any other upcoming info session should go to:

For additional background on CASA of Tarrant County, visit 

About CASA of Tarrant County:

CASA of Tarrant County pairs trained, court-appointed volunteer advocates with children and teens who have been taken into custody by Child Protective Services, for the purpose of serving as the child or teen’s “voice” as they move through the family court system. In many cases, a CASA is the only consistent adult figure present during a confusing and frightening time in the life of a child who has already experienced significant trauma. Currently, CASA of Tarrant County has more than 450 active volunteers who come from all walks of life. Despite the impressive number of community members who have stepped up to speak up for a child, however, there are still about 550 kids each year who are left waiting for a CASA, because there aren’t enough volunteers to meet the demands of the child welfare system. In 2018 alone, the work of CASA volunteers impacted more than 600 Tarrant County families and more than 1,100 Tarrant County children. Learn more.

CASA’s Statement on Diversity: CASA of Tarrant County recognizes that diversity of race, ethnicity, and language are valuable aspects of identity and should be honored and celebrated, and that inequities exist across all levels of our society. CASA is committed to serving children and families of all cultures, abilities, identities and backgrounds, as well as to the goals of advocating for the best interest of all children in the foster care system and providing each child with the highest quality volunteer advocacy possible. To meet these goals, we strive to recruit CASA volunteers of diverse backgrounds so that our volunteers reflect the diversity of the children that we serve.

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