Texarkana, USA – Since 2004, churches across the country have showed their commitment to supporting children in foster care through Stand Sunday, and this Sunday, November 10, CASA for Children is joining the movement.
At any given time, there are 250 – 300 children in the child welfare system here in our community. CASA for Children is spreading awareness through Stand Sunday of ways faith organizations can show their commitment to improving the lives of children and families involved in the child welfare system.
“It takes a community to care for children and that’s what these places of worship are – a community,” said Brandy Eldridge, executive director of CASA for Children. “Our hope is to inform all the diverse faith organizations in our community of the size of the problem happening right now in our own backyard.”
Stand Sunday is a globally recognized day of prayer sponsored by the Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO). This year, CAFO and CASA have worked with the Department of Family & Protective Services (DFPS) to get the first names of the 31,000 children in foster care in Texas. Each faith organization can choose to pray for one child, or 100 members can pray individually for 100 children.
“Putting a name with the children as we all pray together has the power to be transformative,” said Eldridge. “This is a reminder that we have children in our lives who are just like them, and that all children deserve every possible chance to succeed in life.”
When children come into the foster care system, they are taken away from the only life they have ever known. Many of these children will spend months or even years in multiple foster homes. Without the guidance, connection and direction that family provides, many youth face the risk of negative outcomes like homelessness, substance use and incarceration.
Whether you practice prayer or not, CASA for Children hopes you will think of children in foster care on Stand Sunday. They also hope you will consider ways you can support these children, like becoming a CASA volunteer.
CASA volunteers are everyday citizens from the community who are screened and trained, and appointed by a judge to advocate for a child’s best interest in court. Volunteers are designated to serve one child or sibling group and evaluate their well-being by getting to know them and speaking with any and all relevant contacts in their lives, including foster parents, biological family, teachers, therapists and more.
CASA volunteers work hard to develop a trusting relationship with these children, while collecting important information about their unique physical, emotional and educational needs. They communicate their recommendations to the court in an effort to ensure children are set up for success both during and after their time in care.
For more information on Stand Sunday, visit https://cafo.org/orphansunday/resources/foster-care-resources/. To learn more about becoming a CASA volunteer, attend one of the next information sessions on Thursday, December 5 at 9:30 a.m., 12:00p.m. or 5:30 p.m. You can also visit www.casatexarkana.org, www.BecomeACASA.org or call the CASA office at 903-792-1030.