AT&T has donated $3,500 to the Cottages for CASA playhouse fundraiser to generate public awareness and funding to support the work of Court Appointed Special Advocates and Child Advocacy Center’s services in the 10-parish area, a news release from AT&T said.

Local builders, painters and designers have started creating two playhouses to be raffled in November.

CASA is a nonprofit organization that recruits, trains and supervises volunteers who serve as powerful voices for abused and neglected children as they navigate the court system. Volunteers who serve with CASA are community members appointed by a judge to advocate on a one-on-one basis for children in need of care. Advocates report to the judge and others in the child welfare system on the child’s behalf. A CASA volunteer stands beside the child with the primary goal of helping him or her reach a safe and permanent home, the news release said.

“A child with CASA received more services and is 50 percent less likely to re-enter the child welfare system,” said state Rep. Chris Broadwater. “Each of the paid staffers and volunteers play important roles in helping these abused and neglected children move into a permanent and stable home, which will hopefully mean in the long-term we are creating a stronger community.”

“We applaud Rep. Broadwater for being an advocate for the CASA program,” said CAS CEO Rob Carlisle. “Our organization serves a 10-parish area, and we are in constant need of resources in order to maintain enough staff members and volunteers to handle the volume of cases that come to us.”

Last year, approximately 36,357 cases of abuse or neglect were reported in Louisiana, the news release said. Through the CASA program, CAS was able to appoint 209 volunteers to represent 454 children, and 162 children were placed in safe and permanent homes, the release said.