Join Louisiana CASA to learn how together we can change children’s stories.

Louisiana CASA is holding a 10 part public webinar series in 2021-2022. Every month we will be hosting FREE educational webinars presented by a statewide network of subject matter experts with first-hand experience working in the child welfare field. We will be discussing a variety of topics focused on protective factors, strengthening children and families, and building stronger communities.

This webinar series is open to all residents in Louisiana and will be especially beneficial for social workers, educators, attorneys, judges, CASA volunteers, caregivers, and caring community members.

Understanding ACEs: Building Self-Healing Communities

Thursday, September 30, 2021, 11:30am – 12:30pm

This presentation will introduce the neuroscience of early adversity, the ACE Study, and the community response to addressing ACEs. Clay Walker, Director of Juvenile Services, will explain the importance of prevention of and resilience to the negative effects of adversity.

About the Speaker: Born in Shreveport, Clay Walker attended college in Oregon and law school in Massachusetts. He has worked for 22 years in Juvenile Court.  From 2008 to 2011, he was the State Juvenile Defender, supervising juvenile public defenders in Louisiana’s sixty-four parishes.  Since 2011, Clay has been the Director of Juvenile Services in Caddo Parish, overseeing Detention and Probation.

 Clay has been an adjunct professor at Centenary College in Shreveport, teaching a course in juvenile delinquency, and has worked with the Southern Poverty Law Center on its Juvenile Justice Initiative. He has worked for more than 20 years with children in Juvenile Court.

Clay was the recipient of the Louisiana State Bar Association’s Pro Bono Publico Award in 2006, the Volunteers for Youth Justice “Shining Star” award in 2007, the Shreveport Chamber of Commerce’s 40 Under 40 in 2008, the National Juvenile Justice Network Leadership in Juvenile Justice Reform and the Catherine LaFleur Legal Advocacy for Children in Louisiana Award in 2010, the Professor Lucy McGough Juvenile Justice Award in 2012, and the Don E. Wydra Award for work in Juvenile Delinquency in 2017.

Resilience

Thursday, October 28, 2021, 11:30am – 12:30pm

Resilience is an expository documentary about several agencies and organizations throughout the country who have adopted trauma-informed approaches. This film provides real-life examples of ACEs science in action, across a variety of settings. The film will be followed by brief discussion led by an ACE Educator.

Keeping Children Safe Online

Thursday, November 18, 2021, 11:30am – 12:30pm

Due to COVID-19, kids and adults are online more that ever, often unsupervised in the same space. The opportunities kids have to socialize online come with benefits and risks. This presentation will examine kids and computer security, online gaming, social networking risks, testing, and sexting.

About the Speaker: Belinda serves as an Outreach Manager for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s Austin, Texas office where she focuses her efforts on presenting NCMEC’s NetSmartz curriculum and implementing NCMEC’s Community Education Partner Program. She brings over 20 years of experience to NCMEC, including her work with the Texas Attorney General’s Office Law Enforcement Division and the Council on At-Risk Youth.

She received a B.A. in government and Mexican-American studies as well as a certificate in project management from the University of Texas at Austin. Additionally, she is currently studying toward a master’s degree in public affairs at the University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley. 

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is a private, non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation whose mission is to help find missing children, reduce child sexual exploitation, and prevent child victimization. NCMEC works with families, victims, private industry, law enforcement, and the public to assist with preventing child abductions, recovering missing children, and providing services to deter and combat child sexual exploitation.

Nurturing the Well-Being of Children and Adolescents

Thursday, January 27, 2022, 11:30am – 12:30pm

This presentation centers on the social and emotional competence of children, emphasizing that a child’s social and emotional competence is crucial to sound relationships with family, adults, and peers. Parents support healthy social and emotional development in children when they model how to express and communicate emotions effectively, self-regulate, and make friends. The presenter will provide a framework for indicators of well-being in children and adolescents, identify normal development milestones for children and adolescents, and offer examples of evidence-based interventions to use when a child’s development has been impacted by maltreatment.

Strengthening Families

Thursday, February 24, 2022, 11:30am – 12:30pm

By focusing on the five universal family strengths identified in the Strengthening Families Protective Factors Framework, community leaders and service providers can better engage, support, and partner with parents in order to achieve the best outcomes for kids. This presentation will outline the five factors communities should build to increase family strengths, enhance child development, and reduce the likelihood of child abuse and neglect.

Parental Resilience: Meeting Parenting Stress with Parental Resilience

Thursday, March 31, 2022, 11:30am – 12:30pm

This presentation will identify ways for parents to proactively meet personal challenges and those in relation to their child, manage adversities, heal the effects of trauma, and thrive given the unique characteristics and circumstances of their family.

Building Strong Communities for Children and Families

Thursday, April 28, 2022, 11:30am – 12:30pm

Derived from the neighborhood-based child protection strategy proposed by U.S. Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect in 1993, Strong Communities for Children is a comprehensive communitywide initiative for the promotion of family and community well-being and prevention of child abuse and neglect. This presentation will examine the key components of Strong Communities for Children including mobilizing communities and then translating that mobilized concern into direct assistance for children and families.

My Community Cares

Thursday, May 26, 2022, 11:30am – 12:30pm

My Community Cares (MCC) started as an effort to reduce child abuse and neglect, and entry of child of children into foster care, in Louisiana’s most vulnerable neighborhoods. However, families in these neighborhoods are also incredibly resilient, considering the many obstacles they overcome on a daily basis. This presentation will highlight the MCC Initiative in four pilot areas.

Investing in Children and Families

Thursday, June 30, 2022, 11:30am – 12:30pm

When we make investments in children and families, the next generation will pay it back through a lifetime of productivity and responsible citizenship. When we don’t attend to important aspects of child development now, there are serious consequences later. This means we need to invest in the kinds of policies and programs that prevent child abuse and neglect. Foster care, clinical treatment and other professional interventions are more costly and produce less desirables outcomes than nurturing, protective relationships and appropriate experiences earlier in life.

Previous Presentations

Early Childhood Experiences: What Research Tells Us About Brain Development

Thursday, August 26, 2021, 11:30am – 12:30pm

Listeners will learn about brain development in early childhood and the effects of environment on brain architecture. Dr. Zeanah will also help attendees understand the developing brain as a system that can be damaged and needs nurturing from its environment in order to grow.

About the Speaker: Charles Zeanah, Jr., MD, has worked clinically and studied children exposed to violence for over 30 years. Throughout his career, Dr. Zeanah has studied the effects of adverse early experiences, including trauma, abuse, and neglect on young children’s development. He has been a leader in infant mental health, exploring attachment and attachment disorders in conditions of extreme risk. He also has studied interventions designed to enhance recovery following exposure to adverse experiences and has published widely on these topics.

Dr. Zeanah is a Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Tulane University School of Medicine. He is also the Director of the Institute of Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health. At a policy level, he serves on the DCFS Internal Advisory Group and directs Tulane’s Early Childhood Policy Leadership Institute.

Dr. Zeanah has won numerous awards for his outstanding work, including the Norbert and Charlotte Rieger Award for Outstanding Scientific Achievement, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the Blanche F. Ittelson Award for Research in Child Psychiatry, the Agnes Purcell McGavin Award for Prevention from the American Psychiatric Association, the Serge Lebovici Award from the World Association for Infant Mental Health, and many more.

Ready to do more?

If you’d like to learn more about becoming a volunteer advocate or how to get involved with the CASA program in your area, view all of our 17 local programs to find a program near you.

CASA volunteers, or Court Appointed Special Advocates, are everyday people from all walks of life who are recruited and specially trained to advocate for children and provide a consistent, reliable adult presence for them during a difficult time in their life.

About Louisiana CASA

Louisiana CASA is the statewide association for 17 local CASA programs serving 61 parishes. We work to connect each part of the CASA community and empower the local programs to perform at their highest level. At the local level, the programs recruit, train and supervise Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteers to advocate for children involved in the child welfare system and improve their well-being. At the state level, Louisiana CASA provides support, training and services to help the local programs operate effectively.

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