Tarleton State University professor Dr. Moumin Quazi is a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for the Cross Timbers area. As a CASA volunteer, he serves as a representative for children who have been separated from their parents, and ensures they are not forgotten in the legal system. For many neglected children, a CASA may be the one constant adult presence in their lives.
“The programs are indispensable. Because these are children, these are people. It just makes it even more crucial and necessary that people of good heart volunteer and become part of something like this,” Quazi said.
Quazi is an English professor and the director of Graduate Studies in English. He has been a CASA volunteer for three years, and has to complete approximately thirty hours of intensive training each year to remain a member of the non-profit organization. He said the desire to help those in need was his motivation to become a CASA.
“There were some bad circumstances in my childhood, and that inspired me to find a way to give back to children going through the same hardships,” Quazi said.
Quazi said he has “always been passionate about standing up for the voiceless.” He said his job is to help the children he represents understand that people are looking out for them and want the best for them, and that they are not alone in their situation. The Cross Timbers CASA website states its mission as: “To ensure that abused and neglected children secure a permanent and nurturing environment, while working to meet the ongoing needs of the child.”
“CASA has brought me into contact with several like-minded people who also care about children’s advocacy. Sometimes you may feel you’re alone, but you find out you are a part of a network. You’re trying your best, along with other people who are too.”
Regarding the court decisions made for the child’s future, Quazi observes the child and the relationship with their parents, listens to what the child wants and looks over various case records. After gathering this information, Quazi makes his recommendation to the judge on which situation would be best for the child, whether that be working toward reunification with the parents, being adopted by a member of their family or becoming part of a permanent foster home.
Quazi said there are some challenges and rewards of CASA work. “You just want to see people make better choices, and be better to their children. When a person makes bad decisions that then affect their children, that can be very upsetting. But eventually watching those children get taken care of and be OK — that’s rewarding.”
Although the emotional toll of every case is difficult, Quazi “regroups” in between each one in order to continue volunteering without becoming overwhelmed.
“I’ll resolve to handle it and then, just like any other puzzle, I put the pieces together and try to figure out how to deal with that child in the best way possible,” Quazi said.
“There is a part of me that believes: although you may not be able to end all the suffering in the world, the way to tackle it is one piece at a time. So, for me, I can do these things a little bit at a time. A little of my time goes to being a CASA, and I’m making the world in my lifetime a little better. I’m helping make the world a better place in that little way.”