September 2018 | In This Issue
Special Announcement!

Foster Care Is Straining Under the Opioid Crisis and 
Other Drug Abuse

A federal study published last month corroborates what voices on the ground have been reporting for some time.

"Increased levels of substance abuse, including but not limited to opioids, have devastated many American families, and the child welfare system has felt the effects," concludes a report by five researchers with the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Education (ASPE) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The study, which employed both statistical analyses and interviews with 188 child welfare professionals, found that, on average, a 10 percent increase in a county's overdose death rate corresponded with a 4.4 percent increase in the rate at which children entered the foster care system.

Click here to read the rest of the article.
Congratulations On Your New Forever Home! 

Congratulations, Hannah! Special thanks to Judge Robert Kless for officiating Hannah's adoption into her forever home!

Child Advocacy Services CASA volunteers
helped 7 children find safe,  permanent homes in August through adoption or reunification.

Ascension, Assumption and St. James - November 8th
St. John and St. Charles - October 4th
Livingston,Tangipahoa and St. Helena - October 3rd
 East and West Feliciana - TBD

CASA Supervisor, St. John Parish:
We are searching for a team member to join our family of staff and volunteers in St. John Parish. Our CASA Advocate Supervisor Position, which serves St. John Parish, is based in LaPlace. This is a full-time position eligible for health and other benefits.

Prevention Services Coordinator, River Parishes  
CAS is seeking a fulltime Prevention Services Coordinator to serve the River Parishes. This position requires an enthusiastic person to work independently from a larger team to coordinate speaking engagements, communicate service needs, prevention education trainings, and establish community relationships in preventing child abuse and neglect. This is a full-time position eligible for health and other benefits.
If you have been searching, or know someone interested, for a position that will inspire you and make life-changing impacts every day, email Debbie Richardson to learn more
Thank You For Your Dedication and Commitment. 
Happy CASA Anniversary!
Jessica E. - 8 Years        
Lacey G. - 3 Years Sharon S. - 1 Year
John D. - 5 Years   Crystal H. - 3 Years Julie R. - 1 Year
Larissa S. - 4 Years
Mary W. - 3 Years Robert G. 1 - Year
Ramona  "Beth" A. - 4 Years  Rachael M. - 3 Years Lydia S. 1 - Year
Kathleen E. - 4 Years Linda R. - 3 Years
Congratulations and Welcome To Our Newest CASA Advocates! 

Sandy West was recently sworn in by Judge Mary Becnel in the 40th JDC.

Lisa Majorie, Jennifer Smith, Virginia Wilson, and Autumn Payton were recently sworn into the 21st JDC by Judge Blair Edwards.
Debra Stampley
Florida Parishes Volunteer Spotlight

Debra is happily married to Wando D. Stampley, Sr., the proud mother of four children, and grandmother of two wonderful grandchildren. Debra works full-time for Southeast Community Health System. She volunteers for several community focused organizations such as STAR as a Domestic Violence Advocate, Families Helping Families, a track coach with USATF Junior Olympics, and many more.  She is definitely a busy woman and yet she added CASA to her resume of volunteerism after being sworn-in on October 17, 2014. She immediately accepted her first case on October 27, 2014. Debra has served as an amazing CASA on two cases that were both reunified with their biological parent and she is now serving on two other cases.
Debra is inspired to continue serving as a CASA to make a difference in the lives of the children and families in her community.  When asked about her busy schedule and how she makes time for CASA with all of her areas of responsibility in her life, she responded by saying time management...prioritizing her time. Her advice and words of encouragement to the busy person that has been considering CASA was simple: "Many times we do not see ourselves as valuable to others as we are which leads to a passive attitude of our needed support...every child needs a mentor and no child should be left behind. We must realize that every day we choose to accept the busyness of life as our excuse to do nothing is another day a child you could be speaking for is left behind in the crazy world of foster care.  Be inspired and get involved!"

Damona Guillera
River Parishes Volunteer Spotlight
I first learned of the CASA program in the early 90's in New Orleans and quickly signed up to be a volunteer. The idea that volunteers could assist in seeing that the best interests of children, children in the most stressful of situations, are met was something that I could support heart and soul. I had to take a break for career and family but I am so proud to once again be a CASA volunteer. While the CASA program has changed and vastly improved over the years, the need is certainly still there. I am honored to provide a voice for children, those who may think they have none. I hope to continue to grow and learn as an advocate to best serve those children in need.
Damona returned to serve as a CASA with the 23rd JDC and accepted her first case immediately after being sworn-in on October 20, 2017. With a heart to serve, she accepted a case based on the need versus geographical convenience. She has traveled countless miles to ensure consistent and quality contact with the child and is never wavering in her efforts to advocate for the child's best interest. Damona has created a wonderful rapport and relationship with her CASA child that is sure to last a lifetime. Cases can be unpredictable and change without warning which requires patience and a love to do this work. What a blessing to have such a patient and loving CASA to stand alongside a child that needs a voice beyond their own.

How Optima Impacts Advocacy
It has been a little over a year since Louisiana CASA Programs were mandated to use Optima. Some of our "seasoned" advocates have actually said that they miss our old Tracking Forms. Some of our "seasoned" supervisors have even said the same thing. It has been a long road for supervisors and advocates to learn the system. We are finally at a good point to see why Optima is important to the children we serve. We would like to share some of the benefits to "data driven outcomes" and provide some tips on how we can all do a better job in using Optima in a way that positively impacts our cases.

Accurate Information: When advocates and supervisors enter their Contact Logs on the same day (or a day or two after), the information is more detailed. The box to the side and the blanks at the bottom right hand side of the page captures everyone that is present during visits and/or exactly who we correspond with. Accurate details of what we talked about and who we talked to are very important in writing court reports and help us to advocate more effectively for our children. Click here for some tips to help you in recording accurate information in your logs.

Remember to keep your CASA Volunteer file up-to-date with your current
auto insurance card, driver's license, and contact information
And remember to visit your CASA child face-to-face at least   once a month.

Stewards of Children is a revolutionary sexual abuse prevention training program that educates adults to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. The program believes and teaches that child safety is an adult's job.Stewards of Children is designed for organizations that serve children and youth. Child Advocacy Services has trained facilitators that can offer this course to your organization for only $10.00 per individual. This fee includes your materials, certificate, and assists CAS in continuing our services for children through our CASA and CAC Programs.

Adults can also register to attend one of the Steward of Children trainings listed below:

Tuesday September 18, 2018 - 5:00-7:00 PM at Hahnville High School: Register here.

Thursday, September 20, 2018 - 4:00-6:00 PM at the Charles E. Cate Teacher Education Center at Southeastern Louisiana University: Register here.

Friday, October 19, 2018 - 9:00-11:00 AM at the Charles E. Cate Teacher Education Center at Southeastern Louisiana University: Register here.

Thursday, November 15, 2018 - 4:00-6:00 PM at the Charles E. Cate Teacher Education Center at Southeastern Louisiana University: Register here .

Healthy Relationships

This month we want to discuss a topic that involves everyone - relationships. We engage in a variety of relationships daily. You may wake up next to a significant other and say, "Good morning!" You may take your dog for a walk in the neighborhood and wave to a neighbor. Maybe you're a stay at home parent who plays with your child and keeps the household going. Or maybe you go to work and interact with co-workers. Whatever your day looks like, you partake in a wide array of relationships whether it's personal, professional, or romantic. The big question is... "Are your relationships healthy?" Find the unhealthy behaviors listed below in the word search attached here. If you are experiencing any of these unhealthy behaviors in your relationship, please reach out for help and/or support.

Have a suggestion? Please contact Angela Golden, Ashleigh Fuller, or Marcy Willett

Recognize, React, Report
Recognize, React, Report is a community resource for protecting children and preventing child abuse. This important resource is being completely redesigned and updated after a decade of distribution and education in the ten parishes served by Child Advocacy Services. Special thanks to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana for generously printing this resource.

We will soon have the new Recognize, React, Report resource printed and ready to be shared! Contact us at 800-798-1575 if you would like copies for your organization.

We are excited to share that we are one of the beneficiaries of the 9th Annual Louisiana's 1st Choice Auto Auction Charity Golf Tournament. Interested in playing and supporting three organizations that are crucial parts of our community? 
Click here to register.

Don't forget to get your #GIVEAVOICE shirt in green or white with the Southeastern logo to wear to support our Lions and CAS! Visit  this link   to get yours!

Brave children tell their stories.  Courageous adults help these children through their trauma and assist them in finding a safe future.  Buttons of Bravery represent the journey of one child for a year under the care of Child Advocacy Services. 

Help hold them together through their experience by participating in the Buttons of Bravery Child Sponsorship Program. 

Thank you to our new and/or continuing Button of Bravery Child Sponsors. 

Hammond BBQ Inc.
David & Judith Landry
Celeste Layrisson
Rob & Tara Peltier
Dr. Farhan Siddiqui

Dear Community Supporter,
With your help, CAS served 523 children with 212 volunteers through our CASA program in 2017.  Of those children, 172 were placed in safe and permanent homes.  Additionally, we performed 618 forensic interviews and provided 413 hours of counseling to over 95 children through our CAC program.
Child Advocacy Services, Inc. is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization. We appreciate your consideration to start or renew your child sponsorship for 2018.  Please remember your contribution is tax-deductible.

Be the thread of hope for a child!

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