April is Child Abuse Prevention month. Amarillo Area CASA is working to change the child abuse and neglect problem in the Texas Panhandle.
Kelsi Vines, Director of Recruitment and Training at Amarillo Area CASA explains, “In Potter County, specifically for every 1,000 children there will be 19.69 victims of child abuse and neglect. The state average is actually around 9 for every 1,000, so Potter County is more than double that number.”
Amarillo Area CASA works with children who are victims of abuse or neglect. “Neglect is the biggest issue here in the panhandle because of substance abuse. There are a lot of kids that are going to come in for neglect of supervision, so any time you see a child alone or hear of a child having to be alone often and that’s kind of a repeated thing you’re hearing, that could be a huge indicator that neglect is happening,” Vines said.
CASA works with children who have already been removed from their homes.
Vines said, “We see the long term effect. It affects you into adulthood if there is no intervention provided when you are young, so that’s what we try to do at CASA.”
Volunteers at CASA give between 8 to 10 hours a month to be there for a child while they are in foster care. “They are getting to know these kids, these kids are getting to know them. These children know I have someone I can call on the bad days or the good days. I have someone who is going to come see me. I have someone I can count on and that alone can help alleviate so much stress these kids are feeling because they feel like they have to carry these burdens by themselves and we come alongside them and say no we can help carry that burden with you,” Vines said.
CASA needs volunteers to make a difference in more children’s lives. CASA 101 is an advocate orientation session where potential volunteers can learn more about the program, see the facility, speak with a volunteer and more. CASA is hosting three lunch time sessions.
- April 11
- April 18
- April 25
All sessions are from noon to 1 p.m. Lunch is provided. The sessions are free and take place at 112 W. 8th, Suite 101. For more information, click here. Also, stay updated with CASA events by following their Facebook page.