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April 10 - 12, 2022   ◦   Baton Rouge, Louisiana 

The Louisiana CASA Conference was a dynamic, three-day event hosted on Sunday, April 10 through Tuesday, April 12, 2022. Hosted in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the conference offered CASA staff, volunteers, and stakeholders to come together for collaboration, celebration, training, and professional development. The conference brought our statewide network together for in-depth learning, networking opportunities and collaborative discussions about the issues that impact our work and the future of child welfare in Louisiana. The three day experience included three major events: the 2022 Louisiana CASA Conference Workshop Day, Awards of Excellence Banquet, and CASA Capitol Day.

Sunday, April 10th

Welcome Reception 

Monday, April 11th

2022 Louisiana CASA Conference Workshop Day 

Awards of Excellence Banquet 

Tuesday, April 12th

CASA Capitol Day 

Conference Registration

Registration for the 2022 Louisiana CASA Conference is closed.

The 2022 Conference will provide an opportunity for you to network and connect with your CASA colleagues. Discussing current issues in-depth, connecting and celebrating with CASA friends and peers, advocating for CASA, and sharing and learning from one another are all highlights of the 2022 Louisiana CASA Conference. Registration is open to current CASA volunteers and staff who strive to change the lives of our most vulnerable children. Thanks to our generous sponsors, registration for the three day event is only $25!

Your $25 Conference Registration Includes:

  • CASA Conference T-Shirt (register by March 24, 2022 to guarantee t-shirt size!)

  • Hotel Room*

  • Admission to all keynotes, learning sessions, and network opportunities

  • Admission to Welcome Reception

  • Admission to CASA Awards Banquet (Dinner provided)

  • Admission to CASA Day at the Capitol

  • Parking for CASA Day at the Capitol

  • Continental Breakfast on Monday and Tuesday (For hotel guests only)

  • Lunch on Monday and Tuesday


Keynotes & Sessions


Chief Justice Weimer

Chief Justice John L. Weimer became the 26th Chief Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court January 1, 2021.

Morning Keynote

Monday, April 11, 2022 at 8:45AM

Join us for a conference kick-off with Chief Justice John Weimer! We all know the value of CASA for the children we serve—we see it in their faces. Justice Weimer will address the value that CASA brings to the Louisiana court system and the communities that CASA represents. Read speaker bio.


Taylor Scrantz

Taylor Scrantz is a Trooper First Class for the Louisiana State Police.

Breakout Session 1 & 4: Personal Safety

Monday, April 11, 2022 at 9:30AM and Monday, April 11, 2022 at 3:00PM

Learn proactive tips and steps you can take to enhance your personal safety taught by Louisiana State Police Trooper First Class Taylor Scrantz. Participants will learn to recognize Personal Safety Skills as an approach for increasing understanding of issues related to personal safety and building skills to help maintain personal safety. Scrantz will demonstrate the steps of guiding effective Personal Safety Skills, which include introducing the purpose, identifying safety concerns, discussing how to detect danger, identifying resources, and establishing strategies.

Read speaker bio.


Shekinah Davis

Shekinah Davis is the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Training Coordinator for Maryland CASA Association.

Breakout Session 1 & 4: Implicit Bias

Monday, April 11, 2022 at 9:30AM and Monday, April 11, 2022 at 3:00PM

This training will discuss the many layers of implicit bias. Where does implicit bias begin, and where do we see it most frequently? What are the modalities of power and cultural ideologies that give way to our biases? Who can be implicitly biased, and how do cultural structures and societal communication styles affect it? These are some of the questions that will be addressed. Participants will leave with a more holistic understanding of implicit bias and the ways in shows up in our environments. Participants will learn practical strategies for identifying implicit bias within themselves and their surroundings, and when appropriate, how to interrupt it and intervene. Read speaker bio.


Laura Dana, LCSW

Laura Dana is a licensed clinical social worker at Mercy Family Center and Project Director of Project Fleur-de-lis.

Breakout Session 2: How to Stay Fired Up without Burning Out

Monday, April 11, 2022 at 10:45AM

Secondary traumatic stress is a natural and yet disruptive by-product of working with children who have experienced trauma. CASA volunteers listen to heart-breaking stories of abuse and neglect, help children overcome their trauma, navigate a system that can be challenging, and sometimes experience disappointment when the court declines to follow the CASA recommendations. How do we manage effective advocacy for children without getting burnt out? Participants will learn the difference between secondary traumatic stress and burn-out, understand the continuum between self-care and wellness, and learn effective strategies to prevent and/or address secondary traumatic stress. Read speaker bio.


Dr. Barbara Ferguson

Dr. Barbara Ferguson has a long history of advocating for children as an educator, attorney, and co-founder of Research on Reforms.

Breakout Session 2: Educational Advocacy

Monday, April 11, 2022 at 10:45AM

Children in foster care face an uphill battle academically due to the impacts of trauma, lack of basic skills, frequent home and school placement changes and emotional upheaval. Understanding a range of education planning, monitoring, coaching and support services can help students in foster care experience success at school and have access to the resources they need to graduate from high school with a plan for their future. Participants will learn techniques and processes to work with schools, social workers, foster families and youth in foster care to resolve difficult issues and remove barriers to school success. Read speaker bio.

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Dr. Wendy Ellis

Dr. Wendy Ellis, DrPH, MPH is an Associate Professor and Founding Director of the Center for Community Resilience.

Lunch Keynote: Reinforcing Our Roots

Monday, April 11, 2022 at 12:00PM

What does it mean to build a resilient community? In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic this is an urgent question for children and families across Louisiana as communities grapple with unfathomable personal stressors due to death, economic strain and disruption in how our children learn. As guardians of child wellbeing across the state we have faced unprecedented challenges in ensuring the safety of children and equitable access to the supports needed to help communities and families heal. In this thought-provoking keynote, Dr. Ellis will help us consider the reality of child welfare in Louisiana and the possibilities in connecting across sectors to heal trauma, foster equity and ultimately build resilient communities where children and parents can thrive. Read speaker bio.

Breakout Session 3: A View from the Bench - Judges Panel

Monday, April 11, 2022 at 1:45PM

CASA volunteers provide best interest advocacy for children in court. A panel of three Child In Need of Care (CINC) trial court judges from different areas in Louisiana will discuss their views on the most effective way to advocate for children in court. The judges will share their views on the best way to communicate with the court, the most effective court reports and the court's expectations for CASA advocacy and court testimony. Participants will gain insight into the way the court balances the positions of the various parties and the court's view of the importance of the CASA voice in Court. Read bios: Moderator - Curtis Nelson J.D., Judges Panel - Judge Burmaster, Judge Davidson, and Judge Grover.


Judge Burmaster

Judge Barron C. Burmaster is a judge for the Jefferson Parish Juvenile Court in Jefferson Parish.


Judge Davidson

Judge John C. Davidson is a judge of the 9th Judicial District, Division D in Rapides Parish, Louisiana


Judge Grover

Judge Gail Grover is the Judge of East Baton Rouge Parish Juvenile Court, Division "B".


Curtis Nelson J.D.

Otha “Curtis” Nelson Jr. serves as the Deputy Judicial Administrator for the Louisiana Supreme Court Division of Children and Families


Melissa Caddell

Melissa Caddell is a Collaborative Family Engagement (CFE) Coach for Texas CASA.

Breakout Session 3: Courageous Connections

Monday, April 11, 2022 at 1:45PM

Healing from trauma best occurs in positive and safe relationships, preferably relationships that can last a lifetime. Collaborative Family Engagement is an integrated approach to Family Finding that establishes a true team between CASA organizations and child protection professionals.  CFE aims to establish a community of support for young people in the foster care system with a trauma informed lens. Professionals working with children and families have a unique and important role in honoring and strengthening relationships for their clients, and in this workshop will be able to add tools to their case management/practice toolbox. Read speaker bios: Melissa Caddell and Maria McCord.


Maria McCord

Maria McCord is a Collaborative Family Engagement (CFE) Coach for Texas CASA.


Susan Nelson, J.D.

Susan Nelson has spent her 20-year career as a journalist, lobbyist, and non-profit executive director.

Capital Day Session 1: Louisiana Legislative Session Update

Tuesday, April 12, 2022 at 9:30AM

Each year, the Louisiana Legislature considers a vast array of bills that would change the state’s law, policy, programing and funding.  Many of the bills under consideration in the 2022 Legislative Session could impact children and their families.  In this session, participants will learn about pending legislation, the possible impact of the legislation and current status of the bills. Read speaker bio.


Sandra Adams

Sandra has a long history of dedication to children's issues through a career of business, government, and nonprofits.

Capital Day Session 2: Legislative Advocacy 101

Tuesday, April 12, 2022 at 10:45AM

One of the most important aspects of our system of government is that it is representative—those who make our laws represent us. We can and should remind leaders of their responsibilities to their constituents and offer them constructive ideas. If we do, we can bring about public policy changes. It’s not a difficult thing to do, and it doesn’t take a lot of time. It just takes the will to act and speak out for yourself and on behalf of those who may not be able to speak for themselves. Join Sandra Adams to learn about the basics and best practices for Legislative Advocacy. Read speaker bio.


Welcome Reception

Sunday, April 10, 2022 at 5:00PM

We kicked-off the 2022 Louisiana CASA Conference by getting to know our peers in a relaxed setting filled with music, drinks, and hors d'oeuvres. The Welcome Reception was hosted at the Cook Hotel and Conference Center at LSU. Once attendees checked into their hotel room, everyone came down and joined us for this one-of-kind experience, where we caught up with network colleagues, made new friends, and created valuable connections. The Welcome Reception was held between 5:00PM - 7:00PM on Sunday, April 10, 2022; participants were welcomed to come and go as they please. 


Awards of Excellence

Monday, April 11, 2022 at 6:00PM

Each year we highlight innovation and exemplary service at the Annual Awards of Excellence Banquet. This year’s awards ceremony took place on Monday evening, April 11, 2022, where we celebrated programs and individuals doing incredible work in their communities. This celebratory event included dinner (included in your conference registration) and an awards ceremony to honor our dedicated advocates, judges, board members and staff. 

Sarah Ghere, Advocate of the Year

Liz Betz, Director of the Year

Kabrina Bland, Staff Member of the Year

Felicia Hillhouse, DCFS Staff Member of the Year

Orlandar Jack, Board Member of the Year

Judge Chuck West, Judge of the Year

Rep. Dustin Miller, Legislator of the Year

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CASA Day at the Capitol

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

As a state CASA organization, we strive to continuously raise the visibility of the statewide CASA network and the children we serve at the state capitol. One of the best methods for doing so is by hosting a Legislative Advocacy Day at the State Capitol during the legislative session. Legislative advocacy is about making your voice heard! State legislators are much more likely to listen and take action on legislation or funding if they hear from their constituents. They want to know what matters and to serve the interests of the voters in their district/state. 

This year's CASA Capitol Day is being held in conjunction with the 2022 CASA Conference. Attendees will receive support in preparing in advance for the Capitol Day. Also, the morning of Capitol Day, conference


attendees will receive a packet of everything you will need to have a great Capitol Day experience. Prior to the CASA Conference, Louisiana CASA will hold a Pre Capitol Day Training on March 31st at 2PM to discuss the logistics and priorities of the day. It is highly recommended that all attendees participate in the training. 

Capitol Day highlights will include advocacy training, meeting with legislators, attending committee meetings, and CASA recognition in the House and Senate Chambers.


Venue & Lodging

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

The Cook Hotel and Conference Center at LSU is a boutique hotel experience on the edge of the LSU campus. Located in the heart of Baton Rouge on the scenic University Lake and minutes away from downtown Baton Rouge, the Cook Hotel is the perfect place to spend a few days in the capitol city. 

A block of rooms is reserved for the 2022 Louisiana CASA Conference and will be of no cost to conference goers.








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Reinforcing Our Roots

2022 Louisiana CASA Conference

April 10 - 12, 2022   ◦   Baton Rouge, Louisiana 

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