Parish President Proclaims April as Child Abuse Prevention Month in Ascension

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

Parish President Tommy Martinez (left) proclaimed April, 2014 as Child Abuse Prevention Month in Ascension Parish. President Martinez read the proclamation aloud during the April 3 parish council meeting in Donaldsonville. President Martinez is shown presenting the proclamation to Stephanie Breeden, lead advocate supervisor with Child Advocacy Services (CAS). Breeden said CAS administers the Court Appointed Special Advocates program (CASA) which recruits, trains, and supervises volunteers who serve as powerful voices for abused and neglected children while they navigate through the court system. CASA members are community members appointed by a judge to advocate, on a one-on-one basis, for children in need of care. CASA members report to the judge and others in the child welfare system on the child’s behalf. The CASA member stands beside the child with the primary goal of helping them reach a safe and permanent home. Breeden said last year alone CASA served 78 foster children in Ascension Parish. “We had over 100 forensic interviews that we did for children who may have been severely sexually abused or physically abused,” Breeden said. “That is a lot and just in Ascension Parish alone. We’re in April and we’ve already served over 60 kids that have been abused and neglected. A lot of people don’t realize that it’s happening right next door or in their neighborhood with people they know. There are things you can do and make a difference,” Breeden said.  Breeden announced the upcoming 2014 Blue Run 1-Mile Run/Walk and 5K Race will take place on Saturday, April 12 at the Gonzales City Hall. The Blue Run is a community event to promote awareness and raise support for services for children through CAS. The race is co-sponsored by CAS and St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. Race day registration will be from 7 a.m. till 7:30 a.m. Pre-race warm up is scheduled for 7:45 a.m. till 8 a.m. with the one-mile run/walk starting at 8 a.m. The 5K race will start at 8:30 a.m.For more information about pre-registration, entry fees and sponsorships, visit www.firstgiving.com/50350/4th-annual-blue-run orwww.childadv.net, or call (225) 647-2005.