CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of West CenLa raffled off a playhouse just before the Leesville Christmas Parade on Saturday. Pollard Construction in Leesville built and donated the playhouse with proceeds to assist CASA in the work they do for kids in foster care.

“The Pollards contacted us back in October and wanted to do a fundraiser with us. It is a fundraiser that helps us out in what we do for the kids,” CASA Executive Director Tommy Edwards said. “The playhouse was estimated to be worth around $2,000.”

The idea for this raffle came from other CASA groups around the state doing similar raffles.

“When we do things like this, it is just another way to get our name out and really engage in the community,” Edwards said. “We are constantly recruiting. There are probably around 100 children between the two parishes at any given time in foster care. We’ve been advocating with about 50 percent. We could potentially get to 75 percent, but we need additional volunteers.”

CASA advocates speak with children in foster care, their foster parents, teachers, doctors and anybody involved with the children.

Advocates help judges determine the best place for the children in foster care. “We speak for the best interest of the child,” Jessica Cryar of CASA said.

CASA advocates have a new class starting in January. It is the first of a brand new CASA curriculum. “These are real cases from around the country that actually happened,” Cryar said. “The advocates will get the chance to get real experience to help them figure out the best placement for a potential child.”