CASA staff attends national conference

Staff reports
Child Advocacy Services staff and volunteers attended the national CASA conference in Denver in April. Shown from left are Rob Carlisle, Jolene Chidester, Pat Golembiewski, Starlynn Amandeo, Stephanie Breeden and Lakisha Hills.

Several of Child Advocacy Services’ staff and volunteers attended the national CASA “Taking Advocacy to a Higher Level” conference in Denver in April.

The staff explored issues related to the current state of abused and neglected children and ways the CASA program can improve their lives.

The CASA staff learned that there are 850 children placed in the foster care system each day.

Many of the issues with foster care children are rarely reported and most of these children are eventually forgotten, they learned.

The national conference offered a lineup of presenters, including Dr. Phil McGraw.  

McGraw, the sponsor of the Forgotten Children Campaign, enforced the need to find foster care children a safe and permanent home. 

The local Ascension CASA program is holding a training class for volunteers on May 19 in Gonzales.

Gov. Bobby Jindal proclaimed May as Court Appointed Special Advocate Month in Louisiana. 

CASA programs speak for the best interest of the abused and neglected children who have been drawn into the juvenile court system, according to spokesperson Michelle Gallo.

Some 12,000 children in Louisiana suffer some form of abuse or neglect and more than 5,000 Louisiana children are currently unable to live safely with their families and have been placed in the care of foster homes and institutions. 

In 2007 more than 1,400 CASA volunteers served as voices on behalf of more than 3,800 abused and neglected children in Louisiana. 

Anyone interested in becoming a CASA volunteer can call 225-647-2005.

For more information, call CASA’s local office or visit www.childadv.net.