This is a special edition of Confetti Park.
Katy Ray interviews Rosana Gonzalez, Executive Director of CASA Jefferson, who is looking for volunteers to advocate for foster children in Jefferson Parish. In 2014, CASA Jefferson served 295 kids in Jefferson parish with only 150 volunteers.
In other words, about 15% of foster care children in Jefferson parish courts are in need of an advocate. There is a definite shortage of volunteers—but on the bright side, it’s definitely an attainable goal!
Katy Ray asks Rosana questions to try to really understand the role of a CASA volunteer. She asks Rosana to describe a hypothetical situation so that potential volunteers might be able to anticipate what they will be undertaking.
CASA stands for “Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children.” From the national organization’s website: “Every day in this country, 1,900 children become victims of abuse or neglect, and four of them will die. Every day. Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for Children is a network of 951 community-based programs that recruit, train and support citizen-volunteers to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in courtrooms and communities.”
Says Rosana, “The advocate is there for that one individual child. They are considered the judge’s witness. They are making sure that child’s time in foster care is limited and is best as it can be.”
A few quick informational items:
- An advocate does not need legal expertise or experience.
- The average foster child spends 22 months in custody. So the CASA volunteer has a required two year commitment.
- A good advocate is an objective person who can come into a situation and look out for the best interests of a child, who can communicate well and is culturally competent and aware, and most of all, who has genuine concern for the well-being of children.
- The amount of time spent on a case per month typically ranges between 8-10 hours.
If you are interested in being a volunteer, or just want more information before you decide, call 504-533-8757 or visit the website www.CASAjefferson.org.