WACO, Texas: CASA of McLennan County is trying to expand their care for foster children in the county, but they have something of a gender gap they are trying to fix.

CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates,) runs on volunteers acting as role models for foster children who can help the kids through their toughest time while also speaking on his or her behalf to social workers or in courtroom settings.

“We’re currently serving about 240 kids in McLennan County in foster care,” executive director Anna Futral said. “On any given day these days, there are about 800 kids in foster care in McLennan County.”

While they will accept any qualified volunteer, they are specifically looking for more men to volunteer.

“We’ve got 92 active advocates right now and about 22% of those are guys,” Futral said. “Meanwhile, the children we’re serving, we’re serving 237 kids and it’s about half and half girls and boys.”

Futral says an advocate’s gender is just one factor of how they match them with a child. That relatability, however, could help a child during a difficult period of their life.

“It is a hard and personal time for them,” Futral said. “If they can have somebody they are very comfortable speaking with about what’s going on, then that can really help this advocate gain that really good knowledge of the situation and build that stronger bond with that child.”

Futral says it is specifically important for boys to have a positive male role model in their life.

“If these young men can have a male volunteer assigned to their case and identify with them, that’s just so helpful,” Futral said.

You can find out more about how to volunteer here.