Texas Tech University

Human Development and Family Sciences Student Impacts Lubbock Children Through Court Appointed Special Advocates

Mallory Collins

April 3, 2023

Human Development and Family Sciences Student Abby Cain

Abby Cain serves as a practicum intern for CASA of the South Plains, Inc

Abby Cain is a senior Human Development and Family Sciences (HDFS) student, graduating in May. Cain also serves as a practicum intern for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of the South Plains, Inc. CASA, a non-profit that recruits volunteers to support local children in the foster care system.

"More specifically, it is a CASA volunteer's sworn duty to the judge to advocate for the child's best interest in the process of finding them a permanent placement," Cain said. "This means a CASA will meet with the child, and anyone in connection to the child, such as doctors, teachers, relatives, etc. What CASA does is so important, especially in the South Plains where we have one of the highest rates of child abuse and neglect in the state."

In her internship position, Cain had the opportunity to be a fully trained and sworn-in CASA volunteer. Her duties as a CASA intern include maintaining office records and partnering with local business contacts to spread the mission of CASA. Cain was introduced to CASA through her sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta. With the help of sponsors and fundraising events, Kappa Alpha Theta raises money for CASA to take on more volunteers to help more children in the Lubbock community.

"After hearing many stories of how these volunteers have helped foster children in our area find secure placement, I knew CASA was the organization I wanted to intern at for my practicum experience," Cain said.

The semester before graduation, each HDFS senior chooses a practicum site. This allows students to receive class credit, gain hands-on experience, and serve an organization within the West Texas area. The Human Development and Family Sciences program supports students through professional instruction and a strong foundation of human development. Cain shares how her courses and instructors have prepared her for her future career.

"My two favorite courses I have taken in my time here have to be Gender Development with Dr. Heisser and Partnering / The Development of Intimate Relationships with Dr. Jackson," Cain said. "They are both great professors and make learning engaging."

Cain said she chose the HDFS major because of her passion for children and the numerous career paths this major offers. The Human Development and Family Sciences program allows students to develop various skills and knowledge they will use in their future careers. Graduates from this program continue to impact the lives of families and children in their community.