Number of foster children in East Texas surging - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Number of foster children in East Texas surging

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(KYTX) -- The number of kids being removed from their homes is doubling--even tripling--- in East Texas counties. It's a situation getting more dire.

 "For our children, we're in difficult times," Lee Ann Millender, Executive Director of CASA of Trinity Valley, said.
The numbers are surging for kids entering foster care in East Texas, compared to this time last year.

 "In Anderson county it's almost 4 times as many children," Millender said.
And more cases demands more volunteers working to make sure these children get the best outcome in court.

"It's the volunteers who go out and investigate the child's situation, research their backgrounds, their history and put a recommendation together for the court as far as what's in the best interest for the children," Millender said.

Elvis Allen is a dedicated Trinity Valley Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteer, or CASA, who has worked on behalf of a dozen kids so far.  
"Knowing that child is safe and in a loving home makes it all worthwhile for me," Allen said.

In most cases CASA volunteers deal with children under the age of 5. Comparing the first 5 months of the year-- Henderson County's numbers have more than doubled. They've more than tripled in Anderson County and doubled in Cherokee County.

 "A lot of it is the drug use. The parents can't or won't stop the drugs. A lot of it is the poverty, the frustration with their lifestyle," Allen said.
It's left 100 CASA volunteers--with more than enough on their plate.

 "These children need help more than anyone could imagine," Allen said. If you want to get involved, seasoned volunteers promise to be with you every step of the way. 

You're encouraged to call the CASA office to train to become a volunteer. You must be 21 years of age, and pass a background check.
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