Volunteer child advocatesneeded by local courts

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 7, 2005


Managing Editor

LAPLACE – Child Advocacy Services says that with 224 cases of child abuse and neglect in the River Parishes last year alone, there is a dire need for more volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA).

Currently, there are several cases where children are waiting for volunteer advocates in these parishes. However, there are only seven CASAs to cover St. John the Baptist, St. James and St. Charles parishes.

A new training session begins Monday night and continues Wednesday night and next Saturday morning, according to program support Verna Gordon, at Child Advocacy Services, 425 W. Airline Highway, Suite O, LaPlace.

Mary Gibson, child services coordinator, stated in a press release, “CASA volunteers are a powerful voice for children, advising the court about what the child needs and wants.”

She added, “CASA volunteers provide emotional support and the stability and nurturing every child deserves. They make recommendations that are in the child’s best interest.”

CASA volunteers offer judges an unbiased, objective recommendation to best serve the interests of the child. “They visit children at least once a month and also make court appearances.”

Gordon continued, “We’re looking to get as many volunteers as possible. It’s one of those things you just have to have the heart to do.”

To learn more about the CASA program, call Child Advocacy Services a 652-8384.