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CASA – Court Appointed Special Advocate

PILS does not host or direct CASA projects, but rather we encourage student participation with this organization and award Pro Bono Service hours for any work done with CASA.

To become a CASA volunteer you must:

  • Be at least 21 years of age.
  • Attend a 45 minute orientation  so you can make an informed decision about your involvement.
  • Complete a 32-hour training course .
  • Make a one year commitment to a child.

Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteers are everyday people who speak up for abused and neglected children to help them reach safe and permanent homes.

More than 250 children in East Baton Rouge Parish will be placed in foster care this year because of abuse and neglect at the hands of their caregivers. These children need CASA volunteers to go to bat for them so that they are not lost in the cracks of the system.

Children enter foster care through no fault of their own. They are innocent victims of abuse, neglect and abandonment. They belong to no one as they silently wait for the court to decide their future. Many of these children become victims a second time, lost in an overburdened, underfunded system that cannot pay close attention to each child whose life is in its hands. Sometimes a child can remain adrift in foster care for months, even years.

CASA volunteers are ordinary people, most with full time jobs of their own. They work with one or two children at a time averaging 10-15 hours per month. No special experience is required other than a willingness to be involved and to learn. After being accepted, volunteers are trained in courtroom procedure, the social services and juvenile court systems. They also learn about the special needs of children who have been abused and neglected. From beginning to end, CASA volunteers act as a watchdog for the child. They interview parents, family members, teachers and health care providers; but most of all, they talk with the child. The personal attention ensures that the case keeps moving so the child can be given a stable environment as soon as possible. Throughout the process, the CASA volunteer’s focus remains the same — what is best for this child. Where will he or she be the most valued and cared for. After weighing the issues, the CASA volunteer presents their recommendation to the judge and stands by the child until the case is fully resolved. Children with a CASA volunteer are less likely to reenter foster care, more likely to receive the services they need and more likely to be adopted.

If you are interested in this Pro Bono Opportunity, please email  Kurtis Johnson (kjoh286@lsu.edu).