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Shreveport CASA coordinator: 'Child abuse cuts across socioeconomic levels'

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Shreveport-based Volunteers for Youth Justice will recognize child abuse prevention month with a rally Tuesday on the steps of the Caddo Parish Juvenile Courthouse.

The 13th annual Light of Hope event is dedicated to the 28 Louisiana children who died last year due to abuse or neglect. The program also will highlight the important role of court appointed special advocates, or CASA. Vickie Ricord is the organization’s CASA volunteer coordinator. She says there is a shortage of volunteers in northwest Louisiana’s six-parish region.

“At any one time, we have about 60 children who are on our waiting list, who are waiting for someone to speak up for them -- to be that extra eyes and ears for the judge -- to make a good, sound decision on their behalf,” Ricord said.

Ricord says local CASA volunteers served 565 children last year. The Light of Hope child abuse and neglect awareness event begins at 5:30 p.m., 1835 Spring St. in Shreveport.

Chuck Smith brings more than 30 years' broadcast and media experience to Red River Radio. He began his career as a radio news reporter and transitioned to television journalism and newsmagazine production. Chuck studied mass communications at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and motion picture / television production at the University of California at Los Angeles. He has also taught writing for television at York Technical College in Rock Hill, South Carolina and video / film production at Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport.
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