April is time to ‘Geaux Blue for Kids’

Published 10:24 am Friday, April 19, 2013

Through its Geaux Blue for Kids initiative, CASA is asking Washington Parish residents to wear a blue ribbon to raise awareness during Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Participating in the statewide initiative is a way for citizens to take a stand in the prevention of child abuse and the promotion of the well being of all children in their community, CASA director Mary Slazer said.

“Please join the (Youth Service Bureau) CASA staff and volunteers in support of each child’s right to live in a safe and permanent home, free from abuse and neglect by wearing a blue ribbon during April, Child Abuse Prevention month,” she said.

The initiative has received a great response, Slazer said. Many blue ribbons, attached to an informational card, have been distributed, and plenty more are ready to be handed out.

The ribbons, to be worn throughout the month, are a way to “remind the community that child abuse prevention takes every one of us,” Slazer said.

Everyone can be involved on some level. She said some examples are assisting a neighbor who is having a difficult time with his or her children by offering support, helping out in a school, speaking to one’s legislators, considering becoming a foster parent or volunteering for CASA.

“It is up to all of us, and we can all be advocates for safety and protection of our most venerable citizens, the children,” she said.

Slazer said more than 290 parish children spent time in foster care last year.

These children have a voice in court through community volunteers, trained and supervised by the Youth Service Bureau, and more Court Appointed Special Advocates are being sought. Adults who have a desire to help children and have no prior involvement with the child protection system can apply to be volunteers through the program.

By providing a first-hand, independent perspective, CASA volunteers make recommendations to assist the court in determining what is in the best interest of the child.

To learn more about the Geaux Blue for Kids initiative, visit www.louisianachildren.com. To request a blue ribbon or information packet about the CASA program, call the Youth Service Bureau at 985-649-4092 or the Bogalusa office at 735-9114.