Five local people recently completed training and were sworn-in to become volunteer CASA advocates for children in foster care. Judge Lauri Blake of the 336th District Court administered the oath to the new volunteers. New child advocates include Jarrett Tucker, Danny Loyd, Jennifer Smith, Ray McGovern and Kathy McGovern.


“We are delighted to welcome this group of advocates to our team,” said Sandy Barber with the Fannin County Children’s Center, which includes the local CASA program.


In the fiscal year ending Aug. 31, CASA served 118 children, which was a 42 percent increase over the previous year. In that same year, the number of court hearings CASA attended increased 74 percent and the number of active volunteers increased 68 percent.


All volunteers completed an intensive training class that prepares them to serve as Court Appointed Special Advocates for children who have been removed from their home due to abuse and neglect. The district judge appoints CASA volunteers to serve as the Guardian ad Litem for each child who has been placed in the state’s custody. In that role, CASA advocates investigate the child’s situation, prepare written reports to the court and advocate for the child’s best interest in court hearings and other settings.


CASA is one program of several programs for abused and neglected children that are operated by the Fannin County Children’s Center. For more information on becoming a CASA, call 903-583-4339 or visit http://www.fanninccc.org.