The number of Autistic children in Las Vegas who have endured abuse and neglect has increased drastically, prompting a local father of a special needs child to step up and advocate for children in similar situations.

Brian Garcia, the parent of an Autistic child, reported his genuine observation that some parents could not manage the challenge associated with raising a child on the spectrum, leading to feeling overwhelmed and alienating the child. Brian believes special needs children have the right to understanding and should receive greater assistance and compassion from their families and society. 

CASA volunteers in Clark Co.

At a ceremony held on Family Court, Brian Garcia aged 46, was among the 24 new Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) volunteers who were officially sworn in. These volunteers will advocate for 52 children who have been victims of abuse or neglect.

To ensure they were adequately prepared for the role, Volunteers underwent a comprehensive five-week training program. This training provided them with the knowledge and tools to offer guidance and assistance to families going through court cases and how to effectively represent children in school and legal settings.

At least 1000 CASA volunteers will be enough

At the swearing-in occasion of the volunteers, Judge David Gibson noted, “Your input, your perspective will enhance our experience.” According to Spokeswoman Mary Ann, most of the CASA volunteers who were sworn in as advocates were parents, some of whom have experience raising special needs children. 84% were women, and four out of the new 24 volunteers were men.

Program coordinators have forecasted that at least 1000 CASA volunteers will be enough to provide ample representation for children impacted. Currently, there are only about 400 CASA volunteers, which is about half the size of what is required for adequate representation.

Therefore, the organization is actively recruiting more volunteers to fill this need. For parents considering volunteering, Brian Garcia encourages them to take the opportunity and be a positive presence in a child’s life. He said he owes much of his transformation to an eighth-grade theater teacher, who gave him the self-assurance to step up and form strong relationships with others. “You don’t have to be there to transform the kids’ lives. You just have to be available,” said Gracia.

New Volunteers

Other parents, such as Bret Schaefer- a retired firefighter with two children in college- were intrigued by the prospect of aiding vulnerable children. He recognized the importance of lending a hand to those who need it and making an impact on their lives.

As a firefighter, Bret had aided many people but rarely had enough time to form deep connections with them. He related his firefighting career to the CASA program and knew he could make a real difference in some children’s lives even though he may not know their names or relatives. “I have gone through each stage of my sons’ lives with them, and understand the unique needs of each age,” he said. To learn more about CASA, visit

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