The observance of National Child Abuse Prevention Month each April is a useful reminder that youngsters are often the most-vulnerable members of our community. Each child needs at least one advocate, and that advocate is usually a parent, grandparent or older sibling.

But abused or neglected children who are living in foster care often lack such an advocate who can help them navigate the legal system as they seek safe, permanent homes.

That’s where the Court Appointed Special Advocates program, or CASA, makes a big difference. CASA volunteers serve as a helping hand so that these children don’t have to walk through the legal system alone. This volunteer work can be challenging, but also, immensely rewarding.

The Capital Area CASA program is holding a number of 45-minute informational sessions for those who might be interested in becoming a CASA volunteer. Sessions are April 13 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., April 16 at noon, April 18 at 5:30 p.m., April 25 at 12:30 p.m., May 9 at noon, May 14 at 5:30 p.m., May 18 at 10 a.m., May 21 at noon, June 6 at 5 p.m., June 15 at 10 a.m., June 19 at noon, and June 27 at noon.

All sessions are at CASA’s headquarters at 848 Louisiana Ave. in Baton Rouge. For more information, call (225) 379-8598 or email training coordinator Garcelia Burchell at

We urge residents to consider volunteering for this worthy cause.