How Dallas CASA Helps Children Affected By Violence

NBC 5 is dedicating time to talking about domestic violence, how to find help if you are in need, and how to offer help if you're able.

One way you can help, is by offering to help the children who are removed from a violent home. Court Appointed Special Advocates, or "CASA" volunteers, work with children in protective care. These volunteers meet with the children and help be their voice in the courtroom.

"Here at Dallas CASA, what we do: we recruit, train, coach and support volunteer advocates — individuals who come in from the community and want to help," said Kathleen LaValle, Dallas CASA executive director and president.

"And we train our advocates to be able to represent the best interests of children — child victims of abuse and neglect — who've been removed from their home because their home was dangerous," LaValle said.

More than 1,000 Dallas CASA volunteers serve more than 2,700 children annually in Dallas County. Since its inception in 1979, their volunteers have helped thousands of children find safe and permanent homes.

The Dallas CASA website states, "Judges appoint Dallas CASA volunteers to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children, helping these children gain safe, permanent homes as quickly as possible. Dallas CASA exists so that abused and neglected children in protective care have the chance to become successful adults. With the help of caring advocates, the cycle of abuse and neglect will be broken."

HOW TO HELP: To learn more about volunteering for Dallas CASA, visit the organization's website.

You can report suspected child abuse by contacting the Texas Abuse Hotline at 800-252-5400 or on its website.

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