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Story Archives: CASA still in need of volunteers
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|CASA still in need of volunteers|
While Louisiana ranks among the best for providing advocacy for abused and neglected children, there is still a need for more CASA volunteers.
Each year, thousands of children in Louisiana are victims of child abuse, neglect or abandonment.
CASA of Northeast Louisiana works with local children who have been abused or neglected. Many children who enter the state's care eventually become available for adoption.
According to the National CASA Association, Louisiana ranks high in providing advocacy for children in foster care through its Court Appointed Special Advocate programs. In 2008, there were 1,478 volunteers throughout the state working to find safe and permanent homes for these children.
On average, a CASA program in Louisiana is recruiting and training three times the number of volunteers than other CASA programs in other states.
Yet, there will continue to be a need for more volunteers in this region, said Greg Guthrie, director of CASA of Northeast Louisiana's program.
"We are always in need of more caring community members to get involved with CASA to speak up for children right here in northeast Louisiana," he said. "Over 1,400 children were abused in this area alone last year. We know that one person can't save all 1,400 children, but they can make a difference in the life of one. Advocates with CASA speak up for the best interests of these abused children in court and change the lives of these children forever."
CASA volunteers get to know all aspects of a child's life and informs judges and others about that child's needs.
Following training, a CASA volunteer usually is required to work roughly eight hours each month. A CASA volunteer provides individualized one-on-one advocacy and works with all agencies and parties involved to gather information about the child's situation. They then provide a report to the court with recommendations based solely upon the child's best interest.
Volunteers are trained by CASA staff so each advocate is prepared for any and all situations involving a child who has suffered from abuse or neglect, Guthrie said.
"Without CASA volunteers, many abused children spend their lives moving from one foster home to another, never having a family to call their own," Guthrie said.
CASA of Northeast Louisiana provides advocacy services to children in 11 parishes, which includes Ouachita, Caldwell, Franklin, Lincoln, Morehouse, Richland, Tensas, Madison, Union and East and West Carroll.
For more information about becoming a CASA volunteer, call 398-0945.
People can also visit the Web site www.cfcfnela.org.