October 2020 | In This Issue
How CASA/GAL Volunteers Can Connect with Children in the New School Year

As children across the nation have returned to school in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic - whether in person or virtually - the work of a Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) or Guardian ad Litem (GAL) volunteer continues to be essential now more than ever. Children who have a court-appointed volunteer are more likely to succeed in school.
Here are some examples of how a CASA/GAL volunteer can stay connected to the children they serve during the new school year:
  1. Many children may experience excitement or anxiety about starting school, especially during COVID-19. CASA/GAL volunteers can check in with the child and family they serve with a phone call or virtual meeting and ask them to share their feelings and anticipation about the new school year.
  2. CASA/GAL volunteers are normally in frequent contact with teachers and school administrators to form a partnership to better understand the child's unique strengths and challenges. Volunteers can reach out to the child's school team virtually to establish a rapport. These interactions with the child's school, combined with the volunteer's relationship with the child, empower the volunteer to advocate in court for what the child needs to thrive academically.

135 CASA volunteers served 309 children in September and helped find safe, permanent homes for 16 of those children. 128 children are still waiting for someone to be their voice.

Training starts October 27th.

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

Lunch & Learn Information Sessions: 

October 22, 2020 at 11:30 AM
November 19, 2020 at 11:30 AM
December 17, 2020 at 11:30 AM

Coffee with CASA Information Sessions:

November 7, 2020 at 9:00 AM
December 5, 2020 at 9:00 AM

 Recruiters' Corner 

The Physiological Power of Altruism 

People who volunteer lead longer, healthier lives. Some public-health experts believe the time has come for doctors to recommend it alongside diet and exercise. 

In the fight against the disease that will kill one of every four people you know, most scientists studying cardiovascular epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health are focusing on usual suspects like cholesterol, obesity, and cardiac structure. But research fellow Eric Kim has a unique focus: purpose in life. How does it affect health, how is it gained and lost, and how can it be weaponized to keep people alive and well? 

When Canadian tenth-graders in a recent study began volunteering at an after-school program for children, the high schoolers lost weight and had improved cholesterol profiles compared to their non-volunteering peers. (Even in Canada, teenagers have cholesterol problems.) In the journal JAMA Pediatrics, the researchers concluded, "Adolescents who volunteer to help others also benefit themselves, suggesting a novel way to improve health."

"To make a difference in someone's life, you don't have to be brilliant, rich, beautiful, or perfect. You just have to care enough and be there." Anonymous

Congratulations to our newest CASA Volunteer!

Susan Black was recently sworn into the 20th JDC and is ready to serve children in her community!

Congratulations to Dawn Culbreath! Dawn was recently sworn into the 21st JDC and is ready to be a powerful voice for children in her community!

The 23rd JDC is proud to CONGRATULATE our newest CASA volunteers Melanie Able and Mac Webster on being sworn in on October 19, 2020 with Judge Tess Stromberg. Melanie and Mac will be serving as co-CASA's on their new case.


We are excited to share that 11 people from 6 parishes completed their pre-service training to become a CASA this month! Congratulations!

 The need remains great. Will you be in our next training class?

Mandy Jo Pickering
Livingston Parish Volunteer Spotlight

This month, we recognize CASA Advocate Mandy Jo Pickering for her outstanding advocacy and commitment to a positive future for her CASA children. Mandy Jo holds a Master's degree in Applied Sociology and was a former Parent Instructor with Renew Family Resource Project. For as long as Mandy Jo can remember, she wanted to work with children in foster care. She shared that being a CASA has been challenging, but she is constantly reaffirmed that this is exactly where God wants her to be.   Through her advocacy, she has learned so many lessons from her CASA children that she never knew she needed until she met them.

Mandy Jo has been a CASA Volunteer since March of 2018 and has served five children.   She had the privilege of helping reunify three children with their parents and is currently working with two others to find permanency, one who is in extended foster care.  Mandy Jo is always objective in her advocacy and has built working relationships with DCFS to effectively advocate for what she believes is in her CASA children's best interest.   Mandy Jo has always strived to be present for her CASA children's court hearings and submit thorough reports that paint the picture of what these children are experiencing.  

As Mandy Jo's supervisor, I am always impressed with her open communication with all individuals who are involved in the children's life.  She does a phenomenal job of being open with her own biases and putting her CASA children's needs first.  I am so grateful for Mandy Jo's advocacy and so proud to work alongside her.  Thank you, Mandy Jo, for always being a constant in your CASA children's life!

Domonique Holland
St. John Parish Volunteer Spotlight

Domonique Holland has been a CASA volunteer for almost 2 ½ months. Sworn in on 7/22/20, she didn't waste any time committing to her first case within her first week. With the child placed miles and miles away in Ruston and COVID-19 being an issue, she remains engaged with the child virtually. She has formed a bond and gained the trust of the child as well.

She continues to advocate for the best interest of the child while remaining dedicated and compassionate throughout. Domonique, her husband, and their 2 year-old reside in St. John Parish. With only a short time as an advocate, she is constantly learning and enjoying every moment!

Confidentiality for Juvenile Cases

Before beginning training, every potential CASA Advocate is asked to sign a Pledge of Confidentiality in order to become a volunteer.  Every employee of Child Advocacy Services is annually required to sign a pledge as well.   When you are sworn in as an advocate, confidentiality is part of your oath.  In addition, your advocate supervisor is constantly reminding you about confidentiality.   So why do we hear so much about confidentiality?

First and foremost, it is a law that all juvenile matters remain confidential and this is clearly stated in the Louisiana Children's Code and is a National CASA Standard.  Additionally, the children and families that we serve deserve this.  Children involved in Child In Need of Care cases are in the situation through no fault of their own and have the right to privacy. 

Advocates express on a regular basis that while they know they can't discuss their case with anyone, it is sometimes difficult not to share certain information when advocating for their children.  Other advocates have said that they feel that if the communities knew more about the abuse of children that more people would step up to help.  Many volunteers have shared it is really hard to stay silent when there is a high profile case that everyone in the community is discussing. 

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.

Virtual Stewards of Children Training
Offered online via Zoom!

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. Join us at 5:00 PM on Octobebr 27th!

This training is offered at $10 per participant. Your $10 includes a workbook, personal resources for better protecting children, CEU Certificate for 2.0 hours, and sustains this training for others to be trained. 

Triple P Parenting Series

Triple P Selected Seminar Series - An introduction to the strategies of positive parenting and Triple P. Parents attend any number of three 90-minute seminars (Power of Positive Parenting; Raising Confident, Competent Children; and Raising Resilient Children).

Triple P Classes will be held via Zoom due to the social distancing mandate. See the dates and links below to register. Information will be emailed to you on how to participate once you have registered. These sessions are geared toward parents and caregivers of children ages 0 through 12.

The Power of Positive Parenting: Tuesday, November 10 - 11:00 AM

Raising Confident, Competent Children: Tuesday, November 17 - 11:00 AM

Raising Resilient Children: Tuesday, November 24 - 11:00 AM

Triple P Teen Program

The Power of Positive Parenting Teen Program is a multi-level system of family intervention for parents of children and adolescents ages 12-16 who have, or are at risk of developing, behavioral or emotional problems.

Triple P Classes will be held via Zoom due to the social distancing mandate. See the dates and links below to register. Information will be emailed to you on how to participate once you have registered. 

Raising Responsible Teenagers: Thursday, November 12 - 11:00 AM

Raising Competent Teenagers: Thursday, November 19 - 11:00 AM

Getting Teenagers Connected: Thursday, December 3 - 11:00 AM

Human Trafficking 101: What You Should Know

Join our Prevention Services Coordinator and Child and Youth Trafficking Advocate, Kathy, for a Lunch & Learn! We are coming together to bring light and awareness to this very real issue that is impacting our children and youth. Join us to learn more about this issue, and how you can better protect the precious children and youth in your corner of the world!

This training is open to anyone who is interested in learning more about trafficking and how it is impacting our communities. 

Friday, October 23rd
11:30 AM to 12:45 PM

Tiffany Harrell
20th JDC Multi-Disciplinary Team Spotlight
Tiffany Harrell began working  with the Department of Children and Family Services in September of 2019. She is assigned to the Clinton DCFS Office, which serves East and West Feliciana Parishes, and serves as their Child Welfare Specialist for Child Protective Services. Before Tiffany began working at DCFS, she worked for the Eastern Louisiana Mental Health Systems where she supervised group homes and assisted clients with mental health complications transition back into society. Tiffany has always had a love for the children of the Feliciana Parishes, which is evident from her experience in working for Bomba's Babies Daycare in Clinton, LA and Kingdom Hearts Early Childhood Development Center in Slaughter, LA.
Tiffany shared that her favorite aspect of being a part of the Feliciana MDT is having the opportunity to learn new things from others in the field of child protection. She added that it is helpful to learn from others with different perspectives on the matters in which we are involved.
Thank you, Tiffany, for keeping the children of East and West Feliciana Parishes safe!

Deliska Tillman
23rd JDC Multi-Disciplinary Team Spotlight
Deliska Tillman has been the Child Welfare Supervisor for the Department of Children and Family Services office in Ascension Parish for the past 7 years. Before working with DCFS, Deliska served children and families as a case manager for the HIV Prevention Program at Family Services of Greater Baton Rouge and as a counselor/case manager with Louisiana Health and Rehabilitation Center which allowed her the opportunity to work with women who were on drugs to help them receive services to be able to continue to care for their children.
Deliska stated her favorite part about working with the MDT is helping children tell their story of trauma while also being an advocate for children and families so they know we are here for them during their darkest time.

Deliska, thank you so much for all the hard work you do for the children of Ascension Parish!

In September, the Children's Advocacy Center provided advocacy and forensic interviews to 59 children. In the River Region, 23 children and families were provided 33 hours of counseling.

October: National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month

Our goal during the month of October is to promote togetherness, embrace differences, and address the long-lasting impact that bullying can have on children. 

Signs of someone being bullied:
  • unexplainable injuries
  • lost or destroyed clothing, electronics, or jewelry
  • frequent headaches, feeling sick, faking illness

Signs of a bully:

  • getting into physical or verbal fights
  • have friends who bully others
  • are increasingly aggressive
  • blame others for their problems
Recognizing these signs can help parents get the assistance they may need for their child. If you see that your child is being bullied or believe that your child is the bully, contact their school to see how you can get involved to address the problem.

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. 

Atmos Energy
Hancock Whitney
David & Judith Landry *
Celeste Layrisson *
Rob & Tara Peltier *
Taylor Randolph
The Bella Grace Boutique, LLC
Rob & Sally Carlisle *
Lauren & Chris Reynolds *
CH Specialty *
Crossroads Behavioral Health, LLC *
Wayne Meyers *
Becky Powell *

* 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