Abused Children Often Return To Their Families - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

07/20/05 - East Texas

Abused Children Often Return To Their Families

by Ramonica R. Jones

Once an abused child is taken away from their parents, they're placed in immediate foster care, but often, only temporarily.

After an evaluation by the state, mistreated and neglected kids sometimes return to their families.

Janet Read, program director for CASA of the Pines, said, "However, the parents have a plan of service that they need to follow - either by order of the court or by agreement with Children's Protective Services - about what they want to change in their lives and what they need to change."

Families have up to 18 months to make those changes before regaining custody of their children. If they don't, a judge can place those kids in foster care for good.

Recently, CPS took parental rights away from a Polk County couple accused of murder, and placed the couple's kids with a foster family that will now adopt them.

"In some situations, where a child may have been severely abused or sexually abused, and if the mother or the parent is still a part of that household, then the child wouldn't be returned to that home."

Court Appointed Special Advocates are trained volunteers, appointed by judges to speak on behalf of abused and neglected children in court. Doing what's best for these kids is their priority, and so is keeping families together.

Read said, "That is a goal - for siblings to stay together. Sometimes that isn't in their best interest and sometimes it's not possible, but that's always something that those involved with the children hope to have happen."

More than 30 volunteers in Angelina, Houston and Polk counties make up CASA of the Pines. They advocate for nearly a hundred abused and neglected children in East Texas.

To find out how you can become a Court Appointed Special Advocate, call (936) 634-6725 or (936) 328-0170.

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