AUSTIN, TX (KTRE) - The death of Kaylan Broumley is just one on many incidences across the state which points to child abuse. Those kind of cases are why staff and volunteers with 'CASA', Court Appointed Special Advocates, converged on the state capitol this week.
Nacogdoches CASA director Rebecca Carlton arrives early to the state capitol. "Hello, it's nice to see you," greets Carlton to State Representative Wayne Christian. She and other advocates want what's right for Texas children. "What legislation is going to be presented this session are you aware of any that will help out CASA?, asked Christian.
CASA directors and volunteers from across the state have one primary request from the state. "We understand how important it is to have a CASA for every child. The sad fact is we're only able to serve about half of those kids right now," explained Andrea Sparks, political affairs director for Texas CASA. Specifically, TEXAS CASA is asking for a total of $7.8 million dollars for years, 2010 and 2011. The funds could could serve approximately 20,000 foster children.
Achievement starts with recognition. "We want to thank you for all the wonderful things you do for children," said legislators to the gallery of CASA representatives as resolutions were passed in their honor. "From the meetings I've had, I've had great responses from the representatives I've met with and so there positive toward CASA," said Jay Perry, Lufkin CASA director.
The House and Senate floors are a stark difference from the world of a little child simply needing a safe and permanent home. When the two come together the result can be better laws and policies. "CASA is a tremendous wonderful need and it's something that morally and economically is good for the state of Texas," said Christian. The legislative request catches the attention of Attorney General Greg Abbott. He's described as a friend to CASA's efforts. He personally came outside the capitol to greet the group as they were making a group picture on the capitol steps. "It's our hope and expectation that they need to do an outstanding job of protecting children here in Texas," said Abbott.
The causes are many in Austin from child abuse to economic development, but all the advocates say the time was well spent. They'll soon find out as funding is dispersed throughout the legislative session.