Summer break is winding down, and the back-to-school season is in full swing. The start of the school year can be a new and exciting time for children, but it can also lead to more reports of abuse and neglect as faculty, staff, and other parents notice signs of maltreatment children may have suffered during the break.
Schools were the most common source of the more than 168,000 reports of child abuse or neglect that were investigated by the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) last year. DFPS completed 37,440 investigations as a result of reports from school officials.
“In the summer, children interact with fewer adults outside of their families who would see and report signs of abuse or neglect,” said Jennie Hill, Executive Director of CASA of the South Plains. “However, teachers and school officials are mandated reporters, so it is not unusual for there to be a spike in reports when school resumes.”
The increase in reports often leads to more children entering the overburdened child welfare system, creating a need for more CASA volunteers to speak up for these children. CASA Advocates, or Court Appointed Special Advocates, are a voice to foster kids who need someone that can speak up for their well-being.
“As we start the new school year, consider being a voice for children in need by becoming a CASA volunteer,” said Jennie Hill.
For questions or for more information about how to become a CASA, please contact Amanda Norfleet, Recruitment Director at (806) 763-2272 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.