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Need for CASA volunteers growing in Texas, case manager says

COOPER - Clint Hocutt is a licensed baccalaureate social worker (LBSW) case manager for CASA for KIDS of Paris. Hocutt, along with Tina Tina Overman, Co-Coordinator of the Hope House in Cooper and veteran Roger Moore presented to the Delta County Lions Club on Friday, May 18.

Hocutt attended seeking volunteers to help represent children. He said he had eight cases in Delta County of abused or neglected children.

Of the 40,840 children in Texas’ custody in 2009, 21,022 children did not have a CASA volunteer to stand up for them in court and 6,386 Texas children were awaiting adoption.

Training for volunteers includes 30 hours in the classroom and 10 in the courtroom.

“This is the most cases we have seen in a longtime in this area,” said Hocutt.

To find out how to get involved and make a difference for an abused child, citizens can contact Hocutt at 903-737-4346 or go to www.BecomeACASA.org. Being a resident of Delta County is not required just a bit of time, patience and love.

Overman gave an update on the status of the Hope House and their efforts to obtain 501(c)3 status. She has been working with her husband, Fred, for the past three years with the organization.

“It is supported by the whole community,” said Overman on the work at the Hope House, which is currently operating out of a donated 16 x 22 square foot building located on West Dallas Avenue.

So far this quarter, the Hope House has cycled through 17,804 pounds of food and serves almost 40 clients.

“We don’t enable them,” said Overman. “The Lord is why we do what we do.” Volunteers have donated 521 hours selflessly to the effort. She noted contributions are always welcome, including a need for jelly and peanut butter.

“Space is our biggest issue now,” she said.

The budget is worked on faith. Unable to find another suitable building in town, the organization is looking into building a metal structure. The only downside is the estimated $50,000 price tag. Overman expressed her appreciation for all that is done for their food bank and all the food banks in Delta County. She also along with the Club showed appreciation for the servicemen and women, dedicating their lives such as Roger Moore had, to our country.