It was hot.
It was crowded.
But for the short time we were there the kids had a great time at this year’s Children’s Festival.
Throughout the years The Houston Children’s Festival has raised over $4.4 MILLION for Houston’s Child Advocates. Child Advocates are court appointed advocates for children in foster care. They are volunteers who serve as the voice for children who have been abused and neglected. They do not report to CPS, they do not report to any lawyers or other affiliates… they speak for the best interest of the child and the child alone. They meet with the child, encourage the child, and report to the court what they feel is the best and safest environment for the child.
Both Adrian and Sariyah had one of these amazing advocates. I firmly believe that if Sariyah did not have her special advocate- a wonderful, young professional named Ian- that the outcome of her case would have been much different.
(He even came to Sariyah’s 1st Birthday Party!)
Child Advocates is a part of the CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) National Network. There are nearly 1,000 programs all over the country and you can find one near you by visiting here. In many areas EVERY.SINGLE.CHILD that enters into fostercare gets a Court Appointed Advocate. Not so here in Houston… sadly not even close. Because the area is so huge and there are so many children in care (an estimated 5,000 children from Houston are in care any given day– that is more children from this one city than 16 different states have total on any given day!) someone has to request an advocate for the child and a judge approve the request. The request can come from the judge, the CPS worker OR… from the FOSTER PARENT!
Foster parents– did you know that YOU can request that the child in your home receive an advocate??? (that’s how Adrian received his advocate the second time around! :)) To request an advocate for a foster child visit here.
Volunteers are needed desperately in order to ensure that advocates are available to every child here in Houston. Volunteers can be stay-at-home-moms, have full-time jobs, be retired. The average case needs about 2-5 hours a week of casework, plus appearance in court every 3 months. 2-5 hours a week and one day in court every 3 months… to be a voice, an advocate, a HERO for a child in need. If this sounds like something you could do visit here to get started!
If a full advocate doesn’t sound like something that would work for your family, there are other ways to volunteer including Friends of Child Advocates, Special Event Volunteers and Young Professionals for Children.
So, although it was hot and crowded, it was worth it to have some fun and help support this amazing organization that is changing lives one child at a time, one family at a time.
It sure changed this precious child’s life…