November 2018 | In This Issue
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DCFS Sets New Record for Adoptions from Foster Care



The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) celebrated another record-breaking year of adoptions from foster care as families gathered at Istrouma Baptist Church for the state's 20th Annual Adoption Celebration.

Louisiana once again set a record for finalized adoptions in FY 2018, with 912 children finding loving, permanent homes with 631 families between Oct. 1, 2017, and Sept. 30, 2018. The new record represents an 18 percent leap over the bar set just last year, when 771 foster children were adopted by 548 families.

"We are thrilled to have another record-breaking year of families stepping up to provide loving homes for Louisiana's foster children," said First Lady Donna Edwards. "Adoption is life-changing for a child, providing not only a family but a sense of belonging that can buoy a child's spirit and serve as the foundation they need to reach their fullest potential."

Click here to read the rest of the article.
 

Congratulations on Our Newest Adoption!



Congratulations, Alicia! Special thanks to Judge Jeff Oglesbee for officiating Alicia's adoption into her forever home and to her CASA volunteer, Krista Bailey.

Child Advocacy Services CASA volunteers
helped 20 children find safe,  permanent homes in October through adoption or reunification.


CASA VOLUNTEER TRAININGS

Livingston, St. Helena, and Tangipahoa - January 3rd
St. John and St. Charles - February 11th
Ascension, Assumption, and St. James - January 10th



Thank You For Your Dedication and Commitment. 
Happy CASA Anniversary!
Tiffany I. - 5 years
Jamecia M. - 3 years Lynda P. - 2 years
Linda W. - 5 years Jennifer B. - 2 years Re'Neisha S. - 1 year
Crystal G. - 4 years
Sandra L. - 2 years Kristen B. - 1 year
Debbie C. - 4 years Debra P. - 2 years
Congratulations and Welcome To Our Newest CASA Advocates! 


Rosalie Vitrano was sworn-in by Judge Sterling Snowdy in the 40th JDC of St. John the Baptist Parish.

   
William "Bill" Wright, Barbara Vidacovich, Tierra Jacob, Cherrae Smith, 
Alice Engram-Hammed,  Mahita Koduri, and Amanda McGuire  were sworn in by Judge Edwards in the 21st JDC.

 
Shiata Lizarraga was sworn in by Judge Denton of  Denham Springs City Court in the 21st JDC.


Trenecia Washington, Briana Garcia, Rachelle Popular, and Christopher Campbell, were all sworn in on October 19, 2018 by Judge Alvin Turner, Jr. in the 23rd JDC.

Lisa Schillace McMillion
Florida Parish Volunteer Spotlight  

 

Lisa Schillace McMillion is a long-time resident of Hammond, LA.  She is married to Brian McMillion and together they have two girls, Gracie (age 10) and Layla (age 7).  She received her Bachelor's degree in Finance at Southeastern Louisiana University.  As a full time employee, Lisa is the Branch Administrator for Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network in Hammond where she holds a Series 7 and  66 registration.  On weekends, she loves creating family memories and spends much of her leisure time camping, boating, or working out.  Lisa attends Eagle Heights Church in Hammond.  

Lisa first learned about CASA many years ago through a newspaper article.  Years later, her Christian faith reminded her that there is a greater purpose in life than ourselves and she began to pray about her own greater purpose. In 2017, Lisa and her mother completed the required training together and both were sworn in.  Lisa says being a CASA volunteer has been a privilege and an honor.  Bringing encouragement, love, attention and support to the life of an abused/neglected child measures up to nothing else she has witnessed.  Watching the positive transformation of the children has been her favorite part about being a CASA.  

In August of 2017, Lisa was assigned her first case, a three children sibling group. Sadly, the mother in Lisa's case passed away soon after Lisa was assigned. Two of the children reunified with their father. Lisa continues to excel in advocating for the best interest of the remaining child in her case. Lisa is a strong advocate and goes above and beyond her CASA duties.


Amber Yeager
River Parishes Volunteer Spotlight

 
 
Amber Yeager graduated from Nicholls State in 2010. For the past 7 years, she has worked for Occidental Chemical in the Health, Environmental, Safety and Security Department.
 
Amber stated, "I've always wanted to work with kids, just wasn't sure I ever wanted to do it on a full time basis! So when I learned about CASA through a communications meeting at work, I knew I had to volunteer and learn more about this program. My entire family thought I was crazy between working full time and teaching group fitness classes at the gym 3 nights a week. They wondered where I would find the time to volunteer for a program like this.   But I knew I could make it work.  I will say it is a lot different than I expected, in a good way though.  Volunteering for this challenges me in ways I never thought it would.  I really enjoy working and visiting with the families as much as I do the children.  It's an eye opening experience for me and it keeps me on my toes.   
 
Amber Yeager was sworn in on February 23, 2018. Since being sworn in, Amber is currently serving on two cases. "Amber came in and hit the ground running from start," said CASAs supervisor Akeem Burl. "The children in which she is assigned are really blessed to have such a caring and compassionate advocate who truly advocates for their best interest!"

Staying Motivated in a Challenging Child Welfare System
 
Being a CASA Volunteer is not for wimps!  Advocates spend countless hours fighting for good outcomes for children that have had some sad things happen to them.  That in itself takes courage and perseverance!  Many times we feel like we are also fighting a system that is supposed to be designed to have the same mission.  It can be exhausting and discouraging.  Advocate Supervisors share the same frustration and understand how hard it is for you as volunteers to keep fighting. 

Click here to read more.


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


IGNITE: Darkness to Light's National Prevention Conference


Some of Child Advocacy Services' staff recently participated in Darkness to Light's National Prevention Conference in Memphis. Rob Carlisle, CAS CEO, trained 20 new Stewards of Children facilitators representing 16 different states! This passionate group of individuals is empowered and ready to keep children in their communities safe by training adults. 

Child Advocacy Services is a No Hit Zone
 
Child Advocacy Services staff recently completed training and joined the No Hit Zone movement. No Hit Zones build a comfortable and safe environment for parents, families, and staff present in our offices. No Hit Zones set a precedent with the community and create a commitment to promoting positive and effective parenting techniques.

As of 2016, the CDC defines physical abuse as "the use of physical force, such as hitting, shaking, burning, or other shows of force against a child." Hitting includes spanking, slapping, tapping, whooping, smacking, and paddling. Hitting children, including spanking, hurts them both physically and mentally even when physical harm may not be intended.

As a No Hit Zone, CAS will promote and encourage effective painless parenting alternatives. To learn more about No Hit Zones, visit the New Orleans Children's Advocacy Center website

No Hit Zone is an initiative of the New Orleans Children's Advocacy Center and the Audrey Hepburn Children at Risk Evaluation Center. No Hit Zones were first introduced at Children's Hospital in New Orleans and its clinics.

 
Have a suggestion? Please contact Ashleigh Fuller  afuller@childadv.net or Marcy Willett  mwillett@childadv.net.

 
Hayward hanging out with CASA staff and SELU Police at the Homecoming 2018 game!


Art Contest Judges!

Special thanks to the 4th graders at Juban Parc Elementary School for participating in our 2019 Calendar Art Contest! We hosted the contest judging at the school and we are excited to have a our winners selected for our 2019 calendar! Thank you to our contest judges!
 
Pictured left to right are: April Wehrs, Livingston Parish Chamber of Commerce; Lisas Casas, Lisa McLin Casas CPA, LLC; Kacie Stewart, Stewart Family Medicine; Jamie Seal, Quality Engineering & Surveying and a CAS Board Member; Lauren Kennedy, Principal at Juban Parc Elementary; Susan Abels, Livingston Parish President's Office; June Fitzgerald, CASA Volunteer; Michelle Jones, Labarre Associates; Anna Katherine Dazzio, Labarre Associates; Asayo Dvorak, CASA Volunteer; Matt Belser, District Attorney's Office; Serena Birch, District Attorney's Office; and Officer Angel Cruz, Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office.

 
We'd like to thank Roux and Brew for their support of services to children. They recently hosted a community give back night at their restaurant and we are truly grateful for their generosity and support!

 
Huge thank you to Atmos Energy for holding a drive to collect toys for the children we serve. We are so grateful for your generosity and we thank you for helping us provide toys to children for Christmas! #GIVEAVOICE 

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. 

Arthur & Judy Cannedy
Patricia Golembiewski
David & Judith Landry
Celeste Layrisson
Rob & Tara Peltier
Roux & Brew Seafood and Steak House
Rotary Club of St. Charles


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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