By Melanie Wilson
We love our CASA workers! CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates.
CASA is a national organization that works in our community with staff and lots of volunteers to help abused or neglected children. The vision of the organization is to create a world where every child has the opportunity to thrive in a safe and loving home.
So in simple words these volunteers are given cases and work hard to help figure out what is best for our children. They sit in on family visits, visit children in their foster homes, they go to family team meetings, and they gather information for the court. Then the volunteers go in front of the judge on court days and give their opinion on what is best for the children.
That is the technical explanation of what CASA does.
Here is from my opinion about CASA….
I LOVE CASA! I have had two CASA workers, one with each of my babies, and I don’t think I would have made it through without them. I always knew I could call or text them with questions or when I just needed someone to talk to.
In foster care you can’t tell what you know about the children and their families. But sometimes you need someone who knows what is going on to talk to and I have been very lucky to have people I could talk to.
These two women still work hard everyday to help figure out what is the best home for my babies. They double check that I have/had everything I needed to take care of the babies. They have brought presents for Christmas and their birthdays.
CASA volunteers are unsung heroes in the court system. They step up, collect information, love on these children, and help be the eyes and ears of judges that have to make decisions but can’t do all the leg work needed on a day to day basis.
There are so many ways you can help with CASA:
First – you can always pray for these workers and volunteers. Pray that they can get all of the information and they can make informed decisions that can provide children with loving homes.
Second – you can donate. CASA of Central Louisiana in Natchitoches holds annual events to raise money or you can just simply send in donations to their office on Keyser Avenue. CASA of Central Louisiana serves Natchitoches, Red River and Sabine Parishes.
Third – you can become a CASA volunteer. There are trainings throughout the year and you can become certified. Don’t worry if you become a volunteer you aren’t thrown out there to do everything on your own. You have a worker in the CASA office that works with you and attends meetings and court dates with you.
My babies have been very lucky to have two women who I admire and look up to. They work so hard and in their own ways have stood up for these children more then anyone else has. I’m lucky to call these women my friends.
DID YOU KNOW? CASA was the idea of Judge David W. Soukup in 1976 and from 1976 to 2007 CASA has helped 2 million children.