Volunteer pilots to fly advocates to see foster children
McKinney, TEXAS (July 13, 2017) – Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Collin County is pleased to announce a partnership with Angel Flight South Central (AFSC) to provide free flights for CASA volunteers to visit children in foster care who have been placed in homes outside of their local area. Flights from volunteer pilots allow CASA of Collin County to better serve abused or neglected children who have been removed from their homes by providing more frequent visits while incurring less travel time and expense. The inaugural flight took place on Friday, July 14 at 8:30 a.m. at McKinney National Airport, 1500 Industrial Blvd.
“Children enter foster care feeling scared and alone. CASA provides a caring and consistent adult to help the child navigate the lengthy and complicated foster care system,” said Susan Etheridge, Executive Director of CASA of Collin County. “The situation becomes more difficult when the child is placed outside of Collin County, sometimes hundreds of miles away. More than 65 percent of the children CASA serve are placed in foster homes outside of Collin County, which can make regular contact with the child difficult.
“By partnering with Angel Flight, our volunteers can maintain closer contact with a child by visiting the child more regularly in their placement, attending special events and staying connected in meaningful ways. Most importantly, we can assess the appropriateness of the child’s placement and determine if they are receiving all the services they need to heal and thrive,” said Etheridge.
CASA Volunteer Advocate Anne Bradstreet has advocated for four children since she began volunteering for CASA of Collin County in 2015. Her most recent CASA child, Ben, entered foster care at the age of 12, having been severely neglected. Ben had grown up in chaos and had difficulties transitioning into a normal routine and was moved between several local foster homes. Anne visited him regularly in his foster home placements in the DFW area. In June, he was moved to a placement more than five hours away. Anne was afraid face-to-face visits would become more challenging and less frequent.
“During the last six months, I have developed a close and trusting relationship with Ben. It took a while but eventually we were able to connect. Kids coming into care just need a caring adult they can trust to help get them through the difficult time. When Ben moved away, I was afraid I would lose that connection, but with Angel Flight I am excited I will be able to continue to see Ben at least once a month,” said Anne.
For more information on CASA, please visit www.casaofcollincounbty.org.
For additional information on the Angel Flight Program, please visit www.angelflightsc.org.