CASA for the Highland Lakes Area is seeking immediate emergency funds to help maintain its level of staff and invaluable services. CASA suffered almost $34K in State/Federal grant funding cuts and is struggling to raise enough money to maintain current staffing. The budget shortfall, combined with decreased donations due to a troubling economy, has hurt the charitable organization that has served Blanco, Burnet, Lampasas, Llano, & San Saba counties for 15 years.
CASA programs are fiscally responsible and serve an important role in aiding abused & neglected children, judicial systems, and communities. Texas mandates that children removed from their homes by the State due to abuse and/or neglect, be appointed a Guardian Ad-Litem for as long as they are in state care; this could mean months, but, often results in years. CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) provides this unique service to communities; and, most importantly to children in crisis. The loss of CASA services would result in taxpayers paying for mandated Ad-Litems.
Child abuse allegations continue to plague our communities. Unfortunately, government funding for victim services has been significantly cut nationwide the last several years, greatly impacting social service agencies that aid and provide invaluable services to victims.
CASA utilizes trained, sworn volunteers versus paid Ad-Litems to advocate for and represent the child’s best interest during the legal process to find safe, permanent homes. CASA staff and volunteers provide one-to-one contact with children, address medical, dental, emotional, and educational needs, represent children in court, and seek permanent placement options. Most importantly, CASA volunteers are stable, trusting adults that children can rely on and trust to advocate for their best interest.
In 2007, CASA volunteers dedicated 6200+ hours and over 26K miles, saving taxpayers $454,953.00 (based on local pay scales and federal mileage rates). In 2008, CASA volunteers have reported 6100+ service hours and over 85K miles, with an estimated taxpayer savings of $478,746.00, to date.
CASA asks citizens and businesses to help support this needed program by contributing financially. Assistance can be made as general donations, event sponsorships, or gift-in-kind donations.
CASA “Speak Up For Kids 5K & Fun Day at the Park is scheduled for Saturday, November 22, 2008, at Johnson Park in Marble Falls and the Annual CASA Fundraiser Gala is scheduled for February 21, 2009 at Horseshoe Bay Resort.
“Many organizations are already surviving on the edge,” noted Tom Pollak, program director for the National Charitable Statistics at the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C. “Their future hangs in the balance.”
Please send donations to: CASA, 1719 Ridgeview, Kingsland, TX 78639. For more information, call (325) 388-3440; or visit www.highlandlakescasa.org. “There can be no great community responsibility that keeping defenseless children safe and preserving their future”.