February 2021 | In This Issue

Child Advocacy Services is proud to continue our mission to give Voice, Healing, and Security to children by spreading awareness surrounding Child Abuse Prevention Month in April! Spring is a new time for growth and bright futures for children. One initiative that has received incredible community support year after year is the blue pinwheel, the national symbol for child abuse prevention. More importantly, the community becomes engaged and empowered in being personally invested in this critical issue.

Join in our mission by investing in services for children and planting a pinwheel garden! Click on the pinwheel below to reserve your pinwheel garden today!


"The available empirical evidence suggests that placement instability and other family chaos is associated with disrupted development of the brain's prefrontal cortex." 

134 CASA volunteers served 288 children in January and helped find safe, permanent homes for 5 of those children.
118 children are still waiting for someone to be their voice.
CASA Training starts March 15, 2021
Have you been thinking about becoming a CASA? 
You can learn more in just 30 minutes.
Register for one of our upcoming virtual information sessions
Recruiters' Corner 
"Nothing is as strong as the heart of a volunteer." Jimmy Doolittle 
Want to learn more about becoming a CASA Volunteer?
Join Stephanie Breeden and Donna Bliss
for a virtual CASA 101
 Information Session

February 18th @ 6:30 PM
March 4th  @ 11:30 AM
March 18th @ 6:30 PM

CASA Testimonial-Rachael Morgan
Hear more about the impact you can make from CASA volunteer Rachael Morgan

"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

This month, CASA recognizes Volunteers

Debbie Guthrie
Ascension Parish 

Debbie Guthrie grew up in Baton Rouge and moved to Ascension Parish when she married in 2000. She worked in education from 1994 until her retirement in January of 2020. She was a secretary, administrator, special education teacher, and paraprofessional. After retiring, Debbie knew she needed to do something with her time. She has always loved working with children so becoming a CASA volunteer seemed like a logical next step. In May of 2020, Debbie immediately took her first case after being sworn in. She accepted an Assumption Parish case involving two siblings in two separate placements, one in Assumption and one in St. Tammany. Debbie has been a strong advocate for both children especially in the area of education by attending IEP meetings, keeping in close contact with both schools and even tutoring at some of her in-person visits. Even with the additional travel required to visit a third child, Debbie did not hesitate when asked to take a second case in December of 2020.  Debbie says she feels really satisfied helping children who are going through such serious circumstances and that the work is not always easy, but it is always fulfilling. Debbie also said she is amazed and appreciative of the love and support the foster parents provide. Debbie cares deeply for her CASA children and it shows!

Tangipahoa Parish

Laura Freeze for her outstanding advocacy and commitment to finding a "forever home" for her CASA children. Laura is a Coast Guard veteran who retired from Louisiana state government in 2018. She now works part-time at Louisiana State University. Although Laura lives in Tangipahoa Parish, she serves in Livingston Parish where she is most needed. Laura was sworn in on July 25, 2019. She immediately committed to a three-sibling case and the adoptive family caregivers. She advocated for adoption and for the children to remain in their current placement. Laura remains in contact with the family of her first case. Laura is on her second case; another three-sibling group. Laura attends court hearings and meetings. Laura makes it a priority to visit her children at least once per month. She has earned the respect of all associated parties such as DCFS, attorneys, teachers, and counselors. Thank you, Laura!

Time Management Tips for Effective CASA Volunteers
Time management is always a hot topic and a challenge for everyone. CASA Volunteers have a huge responsibility in monitoring their assigned case and juggling their personal commitments. It seems that some of the most successful CASA Volunteers wear many personal and professional hats along with their advocate hat.

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 Training

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. 

This training is offered using a virtual platform 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. 

Upcoming trainings:

February 25th at 4 PM: Register here.

March 30th at 4 PM: Register here.

April 22nd at 4 PM: Register here.

Triple P Selected Seminar Series is 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).

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.  

Detective Eathen Landry
St. James Parish Multi-Disciplinary Team

Detective Eathen Landry has been a Detective with the St. James Parish Sheriff's Office Juvenile Division for 5 years. The SJPSO Juvenile Division is responsible for investigating crimes involving juvenile victims or offenders and crimes involving status offenders such as underage drinking, truancy, curfew, etc. Detective Landry investigates everything from child welfare concerns to rape cases.
Prior to joining the Juvenile Division, he was a School Resource Officer for 14 years. When he was asked if he would be interested in becoming a Juvenile Officer, he accepted the role, feeling like this would present him the opportunity to reach more children.
Detective Landry stated his favorite part about working with the Children's Advocacy Center is the satisfaction of knowing we're making a difference with our youth by providing resources that families would not be aware of. He looks forward to continuing his role with St. James Parish MDT.
Thank you, Detective Landry, for your years of service and commitment to the children and families of St. James Parish and beyond.

In January, the Children's Advocacy Center provided advocacy and forensic interviews to 71 children. In the River Region, 21 children and families were provided 38 hours of counseling.

Love146: Not a #Number Caregiver Training

Prevention Services Coordinators, Jordyn G'sell and Kathy Cusimano, will be offering the Love 146: Not a #Number Caregiver training to parents, caregivers, and any adults who work with children and teens that want to learn more about human trafficking and preventative measures to take with youth. The Caregiver training is a guide and introduction of ways to talk to our youth and keep them safe.  We will define exploitation and trafficking, look at the ways that exploiters attempt to groom our youth, talk about how to have open communication with youth regarding their vulnerabilities and safety, look at some true case studies, and review the resources that are available. 

If you are interested in signing up for this Lunch and Learn Zoom training on Wednesday, February 24th at 11 AM, please click here to register.

If you have any further questions regarding this training or any other training we offer, please contact Jordyn G'sell at jgsell@childadv.net or Kathy Cusimano at kcusimano@childadv.net. 

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. 
Dear Community Supporter,

CAS served 516 children with 198 volunteers through our CASA program in 2020. Of those children, 219 were placed in safe and permanent homes. Additionally, we performed 614 forensic interviews and provided 457 hours of counseling to 68 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.
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