May 2020 | In This Issue
  During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Telehealth can Help Connect Home Visiting Services to Families

As community members practice social distancing due to the COVID -19 pandemic, the home visiting field - which serves many families that face challenges related to economic hardship, mental health, and substance use-can no longer meet with families in person. Research shows that child abuse, intimate partner violence, and substance abuse increase during times of crisis, so it is now more important than ever to provide support to families who may face barriers to accessing services. Some service providers and states are implementing remote services, including virtual home visits, on which home visitors can learn from their peers in medicine and behavioral health.

Two fields - medicine and behavioral health - have explored the use of telehealth, defined as the use of electronic platforms such as video, texting, or online content to support long-distance health services. Studies comparing in-person and telehealth models have generally found similar outcomes across the two modes of service. Because of the overlap between the kinds of services that both telehealth services and home visiting programs provide - including assessment, information sharing, and 
support - lessons learned from telehealth can be valuable to home visiting.

Why is it important to wear a mask right now?

We know it may be hard to help children understand the importance of wearing masks right now. Here is a great video to share with the little ones in your life to help facilitate the conversation!

Angelette Update

We want to say THANK YOU to everyone who helped us honor Child Abuse Prevention Month "virtually" in April! We loved seeing your posts wearing blue and your pinwheel creations!

149 CASA volunteers served 321 children in April and helped find safe, permanent homes for 6 of those children. 180 children are still waiting for someone to be their voice.
We don't have pictures to share from our recent adoptions, but we still wanted to make sure we shared these stories of children who were adopted into their forever homes! 

Thank you to their CASA Volunteers for standing by these children and 
being a VOICE for them! 

In March, Dylan was adopted into his forever home. Thank you, Judge Stromberg, for assuring his case did not have to wait any longer that it should. Dylan had been in care since 2017. His volunteer Lyndra Lea was assigned in 2018 and advocated for him every step during the last two years. Thank you, Lyndra, for being there and assuring Dylan had a voice in court.

In April, Alyssa turned 18 years old and is transitioning into the Extended Foster Care Program. Alyssa had been in care since 2016 and her volunteer Pat Golembiewski was assigned in 2017. Pat was not only Alyssa's CASA, she is now and forever will be her friend and someone Alyssa can call and play tile rummy with. Thank you, Pat, for advocating for not only what Alyssa needed but also for what she wanted. 

After being in foster care for 3 years, Tristen was adopted into his forever home in April. Thank you to Judge Cashe for officiating his adoption and to his CASA Volunteers, Ann Wilbourne and Glen Dawson. Ann and Glen served as Tristen's CASA for his entire case.

Training starts on June 2nd and will be offered virtually via Zoom. 

Want to learn more about becoming a CASA Volunteer? 
Register for one of our upcoming virtual information sessions. 

Coffee with CASA Information Sessions:

May 21, 2020 at 9:00 AM
June 18, 2020 at 9:00 AM

Lunch & Learn Information Sessions: 

June 4, 2020 at 11:30 AM
July 2, 2020 at 11:30 AM

 Recruiters' Corner 
Volunteering and its Surprising Benefits
With busy lives, it can be hard to find time to volunteer. However, the benefits of volunteering can be enormous. Volunteering offers vital help to people in need, worthwhile causes, and the community, but the benefits can be even greater for you, the volunteer. The right match can help you to find friends, connect with the community, learn new skills, and even advance your career. 

Congratulations to Harlan Nelson, Lisa Raiford (pictured left), and Debbie Guthrie (pictured right) on completing the CASA Pre-Service Training Class in the 23rd JDC! 

Katusha Zeller and Gerry Urso
Tangipahoa Parish

Katusha Zeller and Gerry Urso were sworn in as CASA Volunteers in June of 2018. The two have been outstanding advocates and displayed great commitment to making a difference to their CASA kids! Gerry and Katusha have had three cases since becoming CASA Volunteers in June 2018; touching the lives of nine children. Two of the cases ended with parents successfully reuniting with their children and one case ended with an adoption! The two describe the case that closed with an adoption as being a part of helping the kids have a new but very happy "forever" family. 

Their CASA Supervisor describes them as the dynamic duo. Gerry and Katusha report that they have learned a lot in their almost two years of service and still want to do more! When being interviewed for this spotlight, Gerry stated, "The personal and emotional reward of being a CASA far outweighs the effort. You almost wish that you had the CASA training when you were raising your own children". When asked to reflect on her experiences as a CASA, Katusha said, "When Gerry asked if I, too, wanted to be a CASA and join him in the upcoming training I immediately replied "Yes!" The training and experience I have enjoyed thus far could have been useful as a parent a few years back. However, I am looking forward to using my new found skills as a CASA and a grandparent".

Brandi Miller
Ascension Parish

Brandi Miller was sworn in on January 21, 2020 and immediately took a case with a set of teenage  
twins. She has been diligently advocating for the children's needs, keeping in contact with the children, their caregiver, school, and counselors. Recently, she accepted another case for three siblings who are in two different placements. In her short time as a CASA volunteer, Brandi says she has enjoyed being the voice of the children and helping them through a very difficult period of their lives.

In addition to being a CASA volunteer, Brandi works full time as an Executive Assistant and is a Notary Public. She and her husband reside in Ascension Parish with their dog, Charlie, and have two adult sons. Brandi and her husband are both avid scuba divers and enjoy underwater photography and videography.

Thank you, Brandi, for all your hard work for our children!

Maintaining Meaningful Connections for CASA Children

The COVID-19 Pandemic has made us realize how important family and community connections are. Everyone is looking forward to getting back to things that we took for granted; attending church, going to the gym, having dinner with friends, having in person visits with our families, etc. As we transition to the "new normal", we need to be aware that our CASA children have not just missed attending school and extracurricular activities. Many have not seen their siblings or parents for several weeks. Family and community connections build resiliency!

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 for 2 hours of continuing education, and assists CAS in continuing our services for children through our CASA and CAC Programs.

Contact us at 800-798-1575 for information on scheduling a training.

To adhere to the current stay home mandate and social distancing orders, we are not currently hosting in-person trainings. 

Click here to see dates and locations for additional trainings offered through Child Advocacy Services.

Aaron Bond
Livingston Parish Multi-Disciplinary Team Spotlight

Aaron Bond has been a member of our Livingston Parish MDT for 2 ½ years. He has been in law enforcement for a total of 17 ½ years.  Aaron started his law enforcement journey with East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office. During his 10 years of employment, he worked in the jail, the courtroom, as a road deputy, and the DARE Program. 

Aaron transitioned to Livingston Parish when Sheriff Jason Ard was elected. Aaron was the first school resource officer in Livingston Parish. After 5 years of working as a school resource officer, he transitioned over to the juvenile department.

Aaron says his favorite part about being on our MDT is interacting with the CASA's, DA's office, and DCFS as well as the team collaboration on cases.

Thank you so much, Aaron, for all of the hard work you do to ensure that children and families are kept safe! 

Kim Moore
Tangipahoa Parish Multi-Disciplinary Team Spotlight

Kim Moore has been a member of our Tangipahoa Parish MDT for 7 years. She started her journey at the Department of Children and Family Services as a Title IV-E intern in 2008.

Kim worked in foster care from 2008-2010, family services from 2010-2013, and child investigations from 2013-2015. Kim is currently a supervisor in child investigations.

Kim says her favorite part about being on our MDT is the gathering of all the different agencies to discuss the cases and get everyone's viewpoints.

Thank you so much, Kim, for all of the hard work you do to ensure that children and families are kept safe!
In April, the Children's Advocacy Center provided advocacy and forensic interviews to 27 children. In the River Region, 27 children and families were provided 18 hours of counseling.

Prevention Patrol 

Dive into Safe Summer Fun

Nearly 300 children under five years old drown in swimming pools each year. In addition, nearly 4,000 children younger than five are hospitalized due to submersion injuries in pools. It is important all adults and children understand water safety to better enjoy summer activities, especially with everyone being home and looking for more fun outdoor activities to get out of the house. Families can work together to adopt and practice safety steps around the water. Establishing these simple water safety steps will save a life! 

Thank you to Hancock Whitney for supporting Child Advocacy Services through the "Move Dem Chains" Campaign with the New Orleans Saints during the 2019 Football Season. We are grateful for your generosity and investment in services for children!

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 Buttons of Bravery Child Sponsors. 

Elwood & Cynthia Alberts
Rob & Sally Carlisle *
CH Specialty *
Crossroads Behavioral Health, LLC *
Gina Griffin
Hancock Whitney
Becky Powell *
Beryle Ramsey

* denotes a recurring monthly donor
Dear Community Supporter,

CAS served 557 children with 212 volunteers through our CASA program in 2019. Of those children, 205 were placed in safe and permanent homes. Additionally, we performed 662 forensic interviews and provided 663 hours of counseling to 116 children and families 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 2020.  Please remember your contribution is tax-deductible .
800.798.1575 | Visit Our Website
Email Marketing Design by 5 Stones Media