April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. On Thursday, April 2, CASA of Hidalgo County Inc., Child Protection Court, the Texas Department of Protective Regulatory Services (CPS), Hidalgo County Child Welfare Board, Hidalgo County Judge’s Office, Lutheran Social Services, United Way, Upper Valley Community Partners, CAC, Rainbow Room, and A World for Children will hold a vigil as part of the national movement to symbolize a light of hope for all abused and neglected children.

During the Light of Hope ceremony our community will join hearts with other across the nation and the Lights of Hope will be lit to commemorate all the children who are victims of abuse and neglect.

According to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services Statistics in 2008 Hidalgo County had 8 child abuse fatalities. There were 2,819 children confirmed victims of child abuse and neglect in Hidalgo County.

This year local organizations have joined CASA of Hidalgo County, Inc. and Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services in the Light of Hope Candlelight Vigil. Among the organizations are Child Protection Court, Children’s Defense Fund, and Communities in Schools, Hidalgo County Child Welfare Board, Hidalgo County Judge’s Office, Lutheran Social Services, United Way, Upper Valley Community Partners, and A World for Children.

Child abuse prevention is a community responsibility and finding solutions depends on involvement among all people. Every community should work towards the goal of bringing local service agencies together to protect their children. CASA urges all citizens to work together to help fight child abuse in Hidalgo County, become a CASA volunteer.

CASA’s volunteers are appointed by judges to thoroughly research the specifics of each child’s case, and to advocate in court for the child’s best interest. CASA of Hidalgo County, Inc. is a member of the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association that has more than 1,000 CASA programs operating in the United States of the union to advocate for abused and neglected children.

The Vigil will begin at 6 p.m. at the Hidalgo County Courthouse east entrance, 100 N. Closner, Edinburg. Two Continuing Education Units (CEU’S) will be offered for Marriage and Family Therapists, Social Workers, and License Professional Counselors. To learn more about the Light of Hope Vigil, how to become a CASA volunteer, or CEU’S call 381-HOLD. The next advocate training begins on April 20,2009. Call CASA to reserve your space.