Texas A&M College Coaches Join Casa To Kick Off A Statewide Campaign To Help Abused And Neglected Children

Texas Has The Highest Rate Of Child Abuse In The Nation


College Station, TX — As another exciting college football season continues, three of Texas A&M top college coaches are kicking off a new initiative to help abused and neglected children across the state. Texas has the highest rate of child abuse in the nation and volunteers are desperately needed to help protect Texas children from abuse and neglect.

Texas A&M University Football Coach Mike Sherman is joining Baseball Coach Rob Childress and Basketball Coach Gary Blair to help raise awareness about child abuse in Texas.

Texas A&M Baseball Coach Rob Childress, one of the top pitching coaches and recruiters in the country, kicked off the Coaches for CASA campaign with Liana Lowey, Executive Director of Voices for Children, CASA of the Brazos Valley to reach out to thousands of Aggie football fans. The goal is to encourage Aggie sports fans to volunteer for local CASA programs and help abused and neglected children in our state.

“CASA is honored to partner with Texas A&M Coaches to launch the Coaches for CASA campaign,” said, Executive Director Liana Lowey, Executive Director of Voices for Children CASA of the Brazos Valley. “Coaches are teaming up with CASA programs across Texas in order to help recruit new volunteers, especially men, who are desperately needed in advocating for and providing a positive male role model for boys in foster care. More than half the children in foster care are boys, but only 18 percent of the volunteers statewide are men. “Texas A&M Athletics is proud to partner with CASA to help support abused and neglected children in the Brazos Valley. We encourage all Texas Aggie fans to join the CASA team,” said Texas A&M Head Baseball Coach Rob Childress.

The campaign launched by the A&M coaches is part of a larger statewide campaign where the head football coaches of Texas Tech, Baylor University, the University of Texas, and Texas State are also throwing their support behind Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) in a special launch of a public awareness campaign to recruit new CASA volunteers across Texas. Each coach shot an individual PSA for Texas CASA and the football coaches participated in one combined PSA with all of the football coaches.

In the all football PSA, Texas A&M Coach Mike Sherman is joining forces with University of Texas Coach Mack Brown, Baylor University Coach Art Briles, Texas Tech Coach Tommy Tuberville and Texas State University Coach Dennis Franchione to support Coaches for CASA.

“As Texas college football coaches, we may be rivals on the field, but we are all on the same team for children through CASA. We want to win on the field, but too many of our kids are losing at home because of abuse and neglect,” said Texas A&M University Football Coach Mike Sherman. “What’s at stake is a whole lot more important than a football game. Become a CASA and help a foster child win by finding a safe, permanent home. Join the team! Make a difference in a child’s life, and your own.”

Volunteers are desperately needed to help protect Texas children in foster care. 227 Texas children died of abuse and neglect in Texas in 2010. Nearly 43,000 children were in foster care in 2010 and Child Protective Services estimates that more than 51,000 will be in care by 2014.

“Children are often shuffled from home to home in the foster care system and feel scared and alone,” said Texas CASA Executive Director Joe Gagen. “The CASA volunteer is often the one constant caring adult in a child’s life who works to find that child a safe and loving home as quickly as possible.”

In FY 2011, 7,040 CASA volunteers advocated for 22,020 children in the custody of Child Protective Services. They helped guide the children through the overburdened foster care system to safe, permanent homes. But, more than 20,000 children in CPS custody last year did not have CASA volunteers to help them through the foster care system. 8,300 more children will be entering the child welfare systems by 2014, according to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

Studies have shown that children who have CASA volunteers spend a shorter time in foster care and are less likely to return to the system, which is good for children and good for taxpayers.

Texas CASA is a statewide association of 69 local CASA programs that recruit, train and supervise community volunteers who are court appointed to represent the best interests of children in CPS custody due to abuse or neglect. Each CASA volunteer is appointed to advocate for one child or set of siblings so he or she can get to know the child or sibling group and what the children’s current and future needs are.

The CASA volunteer visits the child regularly, monitors the child’s progress and the progress of the CPS case in general. The CASA volunteer interviews everyone involved in the child’s life and reviews all relevant medical, educational and legal records, and reports his or her findings to the court and other parties. CASA volunteers make recommendations to judges about the children’s best interests now and in the future.

Make a difference. Consider becoming a CASA volunteer. Visit www.BecomeACASA.org, or www.casaofthesouthplains.org.

• Every 8 minutes a child in Texas was a victim of abuse or neglect
• A child died from abuse and neglect every 38 hours in Texas
• 1 out of every 100 children was a victim of abuse or neglect in Texas
• Nearly 40,000 or 59% of those children were infants to 6 years old
• Nearly 43,000 children were in the care and custody of DFPS
Nearly 20,000 children, nearly half the children in care, did NOT have CASA advocates as they made their journey through foster care

IMPORTANT Brazos Valley (Including Brazos, Burleson, and Grimes Counties) STATS

• 79 CASA Volunteers advocated for 183 of the 296 children in DFPS custody in our tri-county area, giving over 6,000 hours of their time in ensuring the best interest was served in FY2010

• In FY2011 (DFPS Stats not available at this time), 98 CASA volunteers in our tri-county area served 233 children, giving close to 7,000 advocacy hours representing best interest.

Source: DFPS Data Book for FY 2010 (Sept. 1, 2009-Aug. 31, 2010)
For more information about your county, go to the Data Book: http://www.dfps.state.tx.us/About/Data_Books_and_Annual_Reports/2010/default.asp.