June 2020 | In This Issue
COVID-19 rules threaten parents' bonds with their kids in foster care

In April, when nurses came for her 4-day-old baby, Ms. Smith clutched the girl tightly and sobbed. Two police officers stood outside Smith's hospital room to watch over the newborn's transfer to the child services department in Adams County, Colorado, which places infants and children in foster homes.

The agency took Smith's baby after Smith, who is only being identified by her last name to protect her privacy, tested positive for methamphetamine. After being released from the hospital, the 19-year-old first-time mom walked to her home carrying an empty car seat.

During the past eight weeks, Smith has seen her baby only about a dozen times - over a video feed with spotty sound, mostly showing her daughter sleeping. 

Angelette Update

We are excited to soon be serving children from our new home!

146 CASA volunteers served 322 children in May and helped find safe, permanent homes for 23 of those children. 183 children are still waiting for someone to be their voice.

Congratulations to Ty'Rielle and Ty'Sade on their recent adoption! We want to share a special thank you to Judge Vaughn in St. John Parish for officiating their adoption and to their CASA, Onica Joseph, for being a powerful vice for Ty'Rielle and Ty'Sade.

Congratulations to Star and Noah on their recent adoption. Thanks to St. Mary Parish courts for officiating the ceremony. A special thanks to Phil and June Matherne, their CASAs for advocating and being their powerful voice. 

Training starts the week of August 31st.

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

Coffee with CASA Information Sessions:

July 16th at 9:00 AM
August 13th at 9:00 AM

Lunch & Learn Information Sessions: 

July 2, 2020 at 11:30 AM
July 30th at 11:30 AM
August 27th at 11:30 AM
September 10th at 11:30 AM
September 24th at 11:30 AM

 Recruiters' Corner 

Benefits of Community Service
  Did you know that 95% of people who volunteer say they are helping to make their community a better place?

One of the better-known benefits of volunteering is the impact on the community. Unpaid volunteers are often the glue that holds a community together. Volunteering allows you to connect to your community and make it a better place. Even helping out with the smallest tasks can make a real difference to the lives of people, animals, and organizations in need.

Debra Stampley

Debra Stampley has been a CASA volunteer for six years and has been a voice for twelve children thus far. She has been a committed volunteer for every case on which she has served. Debra always makes it her priority to visit with her CASA children as quickly as possible so they have someone committed to seeing them in a safe, permanent home. On one of Debra's cases she drove to New Orleans to visit with her CASA kids. She has observed countless visits between her CASA children and the parents and has worked to obtain the most objective information possible so the Court could make an informed decision in the best interest of the children. 

Debra is always proud to tell her friends and family about her role as a CASA. She has even shared the importance of being a CASA with co-workers in the hopes of recruiting more advocates for children in foster care. Debra does a great job of remaining committed to her CASA child, though there have been times when personal demands have become greater. It is obvious she truly loves being able to provide voice to the needy and we are so grateful to have Debra as a part of our CASA team.

Natasha Bates
St. Charles Parish

Natasha has been serving as a powerful voice for children in St. Charles Parish since August 8, 2017. Mastering the role of a CASA requires a level of self-control and diplomacy that says this is not about me with the guiding light of purpose over personalities to produce positive outcomes for children and families. That is why I am so proud to spotlight a true voice for CASA - determined to have the children's voice heard in and out of status quo. 

Natasha has patiently supported her CASA children through five placement changes, four caseworkers, two children's attorneys, two CASA supervisors, and two trial placements back into the parent's care. 

Remember to Gather Current Fact Based Information

March, April, and May have been challenging months for everyone. June is the first month that many of you will see your CASA child face to face. Some of you may have to continue using Skype, Zoom, etc. due to specific health concerns. While contact types may vary, volunteers are still charged with the duty of gathering fact based information.

Gathering information is an ongoing process. Situations change frequently for foster children and their parents. The situations for many of our children have been drastically altered due to the pandemic. 

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.

Captain Michaela McNeal
Feliciana Multi-Disciplinary Team Spotlight

Ca ptain Michaela McNeal has been a valued member of our Feliciana MDT for the past 18 years. Throughout her career, Michaela has served the families of West Feliciana Parish in a number of capacities. Her career began as the juvenile officer for St. Francisville Police Department. From there, she transitioned into a role as the DARE officer for West Feliciana Sheriff's Office. For the past 17 years, Michaela has been working diligently in investigations and currently serves as the Captain for Criminal Investigations and Narcotics. 

During her 25 years of service in law enforcement, Michaela has been a huge part of educating her community and helping our Children's Advocacy Center serve more children and families in one of our more rural parishes. Fun fact: The first forensic interview Michaela attended was recorded on VHS tape back in 2002!

Michaela said the part she enjoys the most about being a part of the MDT is being able to talk with others involved in the child's case. She explained that by working as a team, we can come to a conclusion together and truly understand the child's background.

Thank you, Michaela for your dedicated career in protecting the children of your community!!

Staff Sergeant Josh Weaver 
Ascension Parish Multi-Disciplinary Team Spotlight

Staff Sergeant Josh Weaver has been a part of the Ascension MDT for about 3 years. He is currently serving in the role of Supervisor for the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office Juvenile Division, which investigates all crimes against victims under the age of 18, over the age of 65, and persons with disabilities.

Prior to joining the Juvenile Division, Josh was a School Security Officer for 4 years and worked within Ascension Parish schools to keep children safe. Josh transitioned to the Juvenile Division because he was given the opportunity to serve his community in a different manner which would allow him to be a stronger advocate for those who could not speak for themselves.

Josh stated his favorite part about working with a MDT is being able to gather more case information from the other team members, learning from each other, and working with the different agencies as a team to help victims of crimes.

Thank you, Josh for your hard work and dedication to protect the most vulnerable in your community!!

In May, the Children's Advocacy Center provided advocacy and forensic interviews to 45 children. In the River Region, 26 children and families were provided 21 hours of counseling.

Prevention Patrol 

Prepared Not Scared

With the beginning of hurricane season, Child Advocacy Services is excited to share Prepared Not Scared™. Prepared Not Scared™ is an interactive resource educating children and families on severe weather and how to address emotions associated with all severe weather and emergencies. This resource identifies many topics of severe weather including: hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, fires, and thunderstorms.

Prepared Not Scared™ introduces "Sunny," a friendly turtle, who helps families learn what to expect during severe weather; how to prepare and respond before, during, and after severe weather emergencies; and shares ways to effectively communicate with children and family members during these emergencies. Sunny encourages open discussions between family members and the importance of developing an appropriate plan for all severe weather emergencies.

Weather is unpredictable. It is important for all children and families to have discussions about how to prepare and the appropriate responses to severe weather to increase levels of safety and awareness. If you would like copies of Prepared Not Scared™ or more information about Prepared Not Scared™, please call Child Advocacy Services 
at 800-798-1575. 

We want to share a huge thank you to the  Northshore Community Foundation and Medline for donating much needed boxes of personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies to several nonprofits in Tangipahoa, including Child Advocacy Services! We are proud to put these supplies to use as we serve children in our community.


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. 

Rob & Sally Carlisle *
CH Specialty *
Crossroads Behavioral Health, LLC *
David & Judith Landry *
Celeste Layrisson *
Rob & Tara Peltier *
Becky Powell *
Chris & Lauren Reynolds *

* 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 .
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