The upcoming school year is right around the corner and while it can be an exciting time for many children, it can also lead to more reports of child abuse and neglect.
Last year, schools were the most common source of child abuse or neglect reports made to the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). Of the more than 300,000 reports, more than 56,000 allegations were from school officials.
CASA of McLennan County Executive Director Anna Futral said these cases often go unreported during the summer months since the child may not have been around other people outside of their family.
"Abuse can be unknown and these perpetrators can hide it very well," Futral said. "If teachers suspect abuse or neglect, they are mandatory reporters, meaning, if they see signs of abuse they must report it. So just because we have more adults surrounding these children, we do see that increase at the beginning of the school year."
The increase in DFPS reports often leads to more children entering the child welfare system. This creates an urgent need for more CASA volunteers who can speak on the child's behalf.
CASA volunteers communicate their recommendations to the court in an effort to help children move out of the temporary system and into safe, permanent homes as quickly as possible.
In McLennan County, there are already more than 550 children in the child welfare system. CASA is currently serving 150 children at this time.
If you're interested in becoming a volunteer for CASA of McLennan County, click here.
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