The literal voice of an angel rang from the front steps of the Rockdale County Courthouse Monday night as a group gathered lighting candles to bring light to the darkness of Child Abuse and to honor children in foster care. Meeting at the Olde Town Conyers pavilion, people huddled together talking about the differences they have seen in the lives of children and families who have gone through the foster care system and CASA.  Michelle Benton, from Rockdale’s CASA, shared information about the program and introduced supporters from DFCS, the Courts, and the community. They then lined up to carry their candles while they walked down the street to the courthouse.

 Mi’Angel Ragin, a tenth grader at Newton High School, led the group of over 30 people in a beautiful acapella rendition of, “This Little Light of Mine” as a culmination of the “Light of Hope” processional down Main Street. 

In Rockdale County, there are currently over 200 children in the foster care system. When  Rockdale’s court places a child in foster care, they are automatically assigned a CASA representative. These Court Appointed Special Advocates commit to an eight-week, 40-hour training program and submit to a prescreening and background check. They then become a voice for these children and can report multiple factors that can influence what may happen next in that child’s life from recommended services to placement. A CASA rep takes the time to get to know the child and everyone that is involved in their lives. These men and women help explain to their clients what is going on during the often lengthy and confusing court proceedings. They are impartial and able to be truthful in reporting without fear of repercussion from DFCS, the court, foster care program, or biological/foster parents. They are there to bring hope to the life of a child by being their voice.

The CASA program in Rockdale County and other counties depend on their volunteers to help these children find the best permanent placement.  The program could not function without them. While the most heard about volunteer is the Child Advocate, there are many more ways people can help.  Organizing fundraisers, donating services such as printing or advertising, hanging posters, or even inviting CASA to speak at your organization can be a major form of assistance. The next CASA training session for Rockdale is set to start April 19th and registration can be done online at trainer@rockdalecasa.org.

Prevent Child Abuse Rockdale is having their 5k Walk for Prevention on April 28th at 9 am (check-in for participants is at 8:30) If you would like to participate or raise funds for the event, please contact the PCAR office at 770.483.7333 or 678.495.7112 This event is also seeking volunteers.

There will be a Sexual Abuse Prevention Workshop  Monday, April 30th from 6-8pm. Covington First UMC. To register for this training please visit the website at http://www.achildsvoicecac.org/training.html, call 770-464-0082, or email achildsvoicecac@gmail.com. The deadline to register is April 25th.