CASA’s funding for local children in need remains in flux

Published 12:15 am Wednesday, June 6, 2018

BATON ROUGE — Child Advocacy Services supervisor Akeem Burl said River Region staff members hoped for the best but prepared for the worst under the threat of state budget cuts, taking the necessary measures to ensure children in foster care would continue to receive services.

During Monday’s special legislative session, Louisiana’s House and Senate approved a budget preserving CASA funding for 17 programs, including two divisions that impact more than 50 children in the River Parishes. However, CASA isn’t out of the woods until the governor signs off on the budget, which had not been done by Wednesday morning, according to Community Outreach Director Lauren Reynolds.

In May, the Louisiana Supreme Court proposed a slimmer budget that would have accounted $1 million in losses for CASA services, Reynolds said.

According to Burl, the River Region budget was allocated to provide a safety net against unexpected cuts or expenses.

He said state funds help provide incentives for Court Appointed Special Advocates, volunteer residents age 21 an older who play perhaps the most important role in providing a voice for underprivileged children.

“CASA doors wouldn’t entirely close with budget cuts, but it would become difficult to maintain the volunteers we rely on without being able to provide incentives such as mileage reimbursement,” Burl said.

Cutting CASA would be detrimental to children who don’t have a voice, Burl said, adding judges rely on trained volunteers to make life-changing decisions for the young people they represent.

According to Reynolds, community response has been commendable. Funds provided through the judiciary branch also cover commercial activity, salaries and insurance, Reynolds said.

For more information, visit