The new leader at Court Appointed Special Advocates of Grayson County isn’t really very new. Wanda Kauffman, who became the agency’s newest Executive Director earlier this year, has been with the agency for 12 years.

She started out as a volunteer and after six years at that position, she joined the staff.

Prior to joining CASA, Kauffman had a career in human resources in the DFW area.

As the previous program director, Kauffman has most recently been working directly with case supervisors and volunteer advocates who work with local children to make sure their best interest is presented to the court during proceedings that impact the children’s lives.

Kauffman said she is really looking forward to the community outreach responsibilities of the executive director’s role and to developing relationships with others in the community.

Part of CASA’s relationship with the community is its key fundraiser of the year, Chocolate Indulgence which is held every February and annually brings the organization tens of thousands of dollars.

“We had a great turn out and we want to thank the community for all of their support,” Kauffman said of the most recent event which was dedicated to the volunteers. “I want to say this agency would not be what it is without our dedicated staff and wonderful volunteers. I want to emphasize how much each of them contribute to this agency. All the time and hard work they do to help the children in Grayson County. The staff and volunteers do this because they love what they do and they all put in a lot of time to help advocate for the children in Grayson County.”

The final numbers have not come in yet for the event, but the funds raised will be used to support CASAS’s mission of providing a voice in court for all of the children involved in the foster care system in Grayson County.

Kauffman said CASA of Grayson County currently has 87 cases that are covered by volunteers and 12 cases that need volunteers. Those numbers include representation for 141 children by volunteers and an additional 19 that still need a volunteer to represent them. CASA currently has 58 volunteers.

“We need as many volunteers as we are able to have. The sad fact is children continue to be removed every day and these children need to have a voice to speak and advocate for their best interests,” Kauffman said.

She said people who think they can’t be a CASA Volunteer Advocate could consider being on the CASA Board.

CASA volunteers must be 21 years old or older, undergo a background check, be able to give at least a one-year commitment and take part in a personal interview.

In a previous interview, long-time CASA employee Natalie Jamison said volunteer advocates are, “patient, open-minded people who have good communication skills, a history of following through on commitments and a willingness to accept guidance.” Above all, shes aid, “they care about children.”

For more information about how to become a CASA volunteer, please contact 903-813-5400.