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CASA in need of volunteers

CASA is in need of volunteers to help serve and advocate for the children in foster care in eleven parishes of Northeast Louisiana.

In order to volunteer for CASA, an individual must be at least 21 years old and pass a background check. This ensures that all individuals working with the children are trustworthy and safe. Another requirement to become a volunteer is to complete thirty hours of training.

The training to become a volunteer begins at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 14, and will take place at the CASA office on Walnut Street. Each training session will last three hours. The course is five weeks long and takes place on Thursday nights.

A CASA volunteer has the ability to determine the types of guidelines they are comfortable serving in. This includes how many children or the area they want to serve.

In an average year, Court Appointed Special Advocates help approximately 355 children that are abused and neglected in Northeast Louisiana.

A CASA volunteer is appointed by the court to advocate for a child throughout the process that the child goes through during the entirety of their stay in foster care. This guarantees that the child has at least one person in their life that will show up for them. Essentially, the CASA volunteer is that child's spokesperson.

The number one goal is to reunite children with their families. Leslie Bryan, Community Development Coordinator says, "CASAs will work with DCFS, counselors, everybody, to make sure that that happens." The court allows for the advocates to speak with everyone involved in the child's life to help ensure the child receives everything they need. With a CASA volunteer, children are two times as likely to be placed in a permanent home.

Bryan said, "We need people to speak up for children and their communities."

More information is available at CASA or at 318-398-0945.

Sydney Russo is originally from West Monroe, Louisiana. She is currently enrolled in The University of Louisiana at Monroe and is studying Communications. Her concentration is in Digital Media.