Do you want to make an impact in your community? Have you ever wondered what being a CASA volunteer or foster caregiver is like? Join us to learn about the growing need for CASA volunteers and foster caregivers in your community! Louisiana CASA has partnered with DCFS to inform caring community members about being foster caregivers and CASA volunteers in Lafourche and Terrebonne Parish. Give A Child A Chance will bring together current foster caregivers and CASA volunteers, caring community members, and child welfare agencies to discuss and educate the ongoing need of foster caregivers and CASA volunteers in their community.
Join us for an informational, hybrid meeting to learn about how you can make an impact in your community! No commitment is required. Light refreshments will be served.
- Tue, Jan 25SchrieverJan 25, 2022, 5:30 PM – Jan 26, 2022, 5:30 PMSchriever, 1407 LA-311, Schriever, LA 70395, USA
- Tue, Jan 18ThibodauxJan 18, 2022, 5:30 PM – 6:30 PMThibodaux, 906 E 1st St, Thibodaux, LA 70301, USA
What is CASA and DCFS?
Children who experience abuse and neglect are removed from their home and are placed into a protective service. This service is called foster care and is provided to children by the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). Foster care is a temporary arrangement in which an adult volunteers to provide for the care of a child or children whose birth parent is unable to care for them. The goal for a child in the foster care system is usually reunification with the birth family if safe, but may be changed to adoption when this is seen as in the child's best interest. While foster care is temporary, adoption is permanent. The Child Welfare division of DCFS train and oversee foster caregivers (which is the title of someone who opens up their home to a child in foster care) in Louisiana.
Once a child is in foster care, they are entitled to the services of a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA volunteer). A CASA volunteer is appointed by a Judge to speak up for a child in foster care. CASA volunteers help to secure safe and permanent homes for abused and neglected children by investigating and monitoring cases involving children in foster care. A CASA volunteer provides a judge with carefully researched background details about the child to help the court make a sound decision about that child’s future. The CASA volunteer makes recommendations to the judge and follows through on the case until it is permanently resolved.
Since there are over 4,000 children in foster care, Louisiana doesn’t have enough foster caregivers or CASA volunteers to assign these services to each child in the child welfare system.
So what does that look like? When there aren’t enough foster caregivers or CASA volunteers in a community, a child may have to move to a different community and won’t have someone advocating for them in court.
Research shows that children do better in family homes that provide a safe environment and an opportunity for the child to heal while maintaining contact with their family. DCFS makes efforts to place children near their biological families, their friends, and their school but if a foster caregiver is not readily available in the child’s community, the child must then move to a different community where a foster caregiver is available. Moving, in many cases, generates unnecessary stress for an already traumatized child.
Children removed from their home because of abuse and neglect already face a frightening, profound unknown. CASA volunteers help these child victims heal and thrive through a dedicated, one-on-one relationship. CASA volunteers remain appointed to the child’s case through its duration, so while the child may have multiple attorneys, social workers, and therapists, they will have only one CASA volunteer. Research shows that children with a CASA volunteer are more likely to find a safe, permanent home quicker; are more likely to succeed in school; and are half as likely to re-enter the foster care system.
Without more CASA volunteers and foster caregivers we as a state are truly setting up these children for failure.
Local children are waiting for someone like YOU
CASA volunteers and foster caregivers are normal people from all walks of life. No experience is required, just a caring heart. CASA and DCFS will be there for you every step of the way and provide specialized training to prepare you in your new role.
CASA Volunteer Requirements:
At least 21 years old
Pass criminal and DCFS history background checks
Complete a 32-hour training course
Complete monthly in-service training
Make a one-year commitment to a child
Foster Caregiver Requirements:
At least 21 years old
Financially stable (able to meet own family's needs)
Good physical, emotional, and mental health
Adequate space in home for additional child
Pass state and federal criminal clearances
Attend 21 hours of pre-service training
Participate in home study process