CASA staff and board members make the inaugural donation at the launch of the  A Dollar for CASA  campaign May 1, in Mineral Wells. Left to right, Palo
CASA staff and board members make the inaugural donation at the launch of the A Dollar for CASA campaign May 1, in Mineral Wells. Left to right, Palo Pinto County Judge David Nicklas, Stephanie White, Rita Spoon, Michelle Garcia, Barbara Tucker, Doyle Moss and Cheryl Duke. (Sarah Howard)
For less than the cost of a fountain drink, Parker and Palo Pinto residents can help support the work of Texas Court Appointed Special Advocates, an organization that provides volunteer services to children needing an advocate in court. "Everyone has a dollar to give," said Texas CASA board president Doyle Moss, at the Texas CASA "A Dollar for CASA" campaign launch in Mineral Wells May 1. The fund-raising campaign, which will run through Labor Day, asks that everyone contribute just a dollar to fund increased awareness of the program and its outreach efforts. CASA hopes that targeting the 144,000-plus residents of Palo Pinto and Parker Counties can help reach its $75,000 goal. CASA was created after a national volunteer movement saw a need to recruit, train and supervise community volunteers who are court appointed to represent the best interests of children in Child Protective Services custody due to evidence of abuse or neglect. Texas CASA, established in 1975, is a statewide association of 70 local CASA programs that appoints an advocate for one child or set of siblings so he or she can get to know the child or sibling group and what the children's current and future needs are determined. "The need is here," said Barbara Tucker, CASA executive director. "We have seen an increase in the number of abuse cases coming into the system." According to Tucker, CASA cases doubled from 2011 to 2012.

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"They are already 18 percent higher in 2013, and it is only May," she added.