UNT students help CASA Denton develop plan to fill need for male advocates

Of their 180 volunteers and advocates for children in foster care in Denton County, only 28 are men, while 190 of the 346 children being served are male.

DENTON (UNT), Texas – Students in the University of North Texas College of Health and Public Service hope a service learning project they completed with CASA of Denton County in their volunteer management course last semester has a lasting impact on the lives of Denton County foster children. They developed a strategy to support the recruitment of males and ethnically diverse volunteers.

“CASA of Denton County provides trained community volunteers to advocate for the best interest of abused and neglected children. We strive to reflect the children that we serve and our community,” said Debbie Jensen, executive director for CASA of Denton County. “Over 50 percent of children in foster care are boys, while only 15 percent of advocates are men. If we are to truly reflect the children that we serve, the disparity between these numbers needs to decrease.”

Students in the course researched and analyzed data on current volunteers and advocates, as well as the population of Denton County, and developed recruitment ideas and opportunities. Based on their findings, they determined that there is a high percentage of males who are between the ages of 35 and 49 who may be qualified for volunteer work and would be ideal for CASA recruitment. They also developed a recruitment plan and strategy that appeals to a diverse pool of prospective CASA advocates and volunteers.

“Dr. Keyes’ class did an exceptional job analyzing the community of Denton County and CASA of Denton County’s needs,” said Hannah McCurrin, training and recruitment coordinator for CASA of Denton County. “They provided tangible ways to implement the recruitment plan while genuinely capturing the CASA mission and the hearts of our volunteers.”

Dr. Neale Chumbler, dean of the College of Health and Public Service, says he’s proud of what these students accomplished.

“It’s impressive to see how these students have taken the skills they’ve learned in the classroom and put them to work in such an important real-world application,” Chumbler said. “We look forward to seeing how their efforts impact CASA and the difference they make in the lives of those they serve.”