Big Country CASA gets national grant to raise awareness of Taylor County’s most vulnerable children

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ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) — Big Country CASA has been awarded a $50,000 Recruitment and Awareness grant from the National Court Appointed Special Advocate/Guardian ad Litem (CASA/GAL) Association for Children. Funds will be used to tailor a national public awareness campaign about child abuse and neglect for local markets, and to distribute the campaign.

There are nearly 950 CASA/GAL programs nationwide, including 45 state offices, that recruit, train and support volunteers who advocate in court for the best interests of children who have experienced abuse or neglect. Their advocacy enables judges to make the most well-informed decisions for each child.

National CASA/GAL has developed a broad-based national campaign, “Change a Child’s StoryTM.” It is distinguished from other campaigns in that its messaging is told from the point of view of children who have experienced abuse or neglect. The campaign shows the importance to these children of having a volunteer by their side to advocate for their best interests.

In Abilene, the campaign will run on social media, on billboards, on radio stations, and digital ads.

“This award will help us meet the compelling need to grow the number of volunteer advocates so that all of Taylor County’s children in foster care can be served by a CASA,” said Gary Douglass of Big Country CASA. “The goal of the project is to add 30 new advocate volunteers which will mean Big Country CASA will be able to serve 75 additional children.”

The “Change a Child’s StoryTM campaign was developed with R&R Partners, a cause-driven marketing and advocacy agency that has worked on prominent social issues campaigns. R&R Partners conducted focus groups across the country to ensure the campaign would resonate with target audiences while being sensitive to the perceptions of those with experience growing up in foster care.

The federal grant funds distributed through National CASA/GAL are provided by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, US Department of Justice, as authorized under the Victims of Child Abuse Act of 1990. In 2019, National CASA was awarded nearly $10.7 million in federal grants.

About Big Country CASA.

Big Country CASA is a part of a national volunteer movement that began in 1977 when a Seattle judge decided he needed to know more about the children whose lives were in his hands. His solution was using volunteers as a “voice in court” for foster children. These CASA advocates provided him with the detailed information he needed to safeguard their best interests and ensure that they were placed in safe, permanent homes as quickly as possible. Big Country CASA (BCC) is working to increase the number of children that our Advocate volunteers are serving. BCC is currently serving 46% of the children in the foster care system. Our goal is to grow the number of volunteers until we can serve 100% of the children in CPS care who need a CASA

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