Local volunteers work to ensure at-risk children are safe

Child abuse and neglect can often go unnoticed and unreported during the summer months.  Children are no longer in the public eye – they are not at schools or daycare, or in other locations where caring individuals would be able to spot signs of abuse.  One group of volunteers is working hard to ensure children in Lincoln Parish are safe.  As schools begin to open across our region, the number of reported cases of abuse or neglect will rise.  

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) are community members who volunteer with CASA of Northeast Louisiana.  They work with children in the child welfare system who have already experienced abuse or neglect.  They meet with children in person at least monthly and provide information to judges that helps them make the most informed decisions about each child.  These visits provide an opportunity for CASA volunteers to check in on children’s safety and well-being.  

“Teachers and daycare workers are mandated child abuse reporters.  If children are not in school, they are not able to report.  That is why we are at a critical point of training volunteers to advocate for those children who will be coming into care in the next few weeks.,” said Leslie Bryan, Community Development Coordinator for CASA of NELA.  “We need volunteers now more than ever and are encouraging all community members to join us by either volunteering their time or by keeping an eye on children in their communities to ensure that they are safe.”    

CASA of NELA will offer Volunteer Training in Ruston, beginning August 2022.  For more information, contact CASA at kparnell@standforhope.org or call 318-245-3646.

If readers suspect that a child is in immediate danger, they should contact their local law enforcement for call 9-1-1.  They can also call, toll-free, 24 hours a day, the DCFS Child Abuse/Neglect Hotline at 855-452-5437, to report abuse or neglect.  

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