Organization advocates for abused and neglected children in Webb County

High demand for CASA advocates for children in the welfare system
Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 5:30 PM CDT
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - Can child death due to abuse and neglect be prevented?

In 2021 there were more than 450 child welfare cases in Webb County. These cases are children who are in the foster care system, trying to get adopted or some that have been abused or neglected.

There are over 20 people volunteering their time to help children in Webb County. Specifically, the kids in the welfare system of the county.

Voz de Ninos, court-appointed special advocates are a voice for children in the court system and in their daily lives. EmmaJo Robledo is the volunteer coordinator for C.A.S.A she said the demand for volunteers is huge and they only have 29 people in the organization.

“With those 29 we serve 79 children with those 29 advocates out of 457 that’s only a 16 percent,” said EmmaJo Robledo.

Robledo said unfortunately they can’t meet the needs of all the children and the family’s cases that are in the child protective services system.

“CPS has a lot on their plate and our advocates do this on their own time so they get to spend those extra hours, that extra communication that extra support that extra resource as far as looking for what the child may need to think their duration in the welfare system,” said Robledo.

That means there are kids and families in Webb County that don’t have the extra support or an extra pair of eyes to make sure a child is safe. The most recent case in the county that was made public was of 21-year-old Damaris Esquivel who admitted to Laredo Police that she shook her one-year-old baby boy out of frustration. Tragically, the baby died due to his injuries.

However, there continue to be many cases in Webb County the most prominent being domestic violence and physical abuse. Robledo said due to many stressors in life in many families and stress from the pandemic they have seen abuse and violence more often.

“In the community like I said it’s a very stressful time for a lot of families unfortunately and we do see that when we do home visits maybe they are struggling financially are with food insecurities, housing insecurities because of everything that happened post-pandemic. So, we do see that violence a little bit more than aggression,” said Robledo.

Robledo said, with more people volunteering they will be able to attend to CPS cases and even prevent a tragedy from occurring.

For more information about becoming a CASA, you can visit https://vozdeninos.org/

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