East Central Indiana CASA is affiliated with the Indiana State Office of GAL/CASA, which is part of the Indiana Supreme Court, Division of State Court Administration. East Central Indiana CASA is certified by the State Office and complies with the Indiana Supreme Court Program Standards and Code of Ethics for GAL/CASA programs. East Central Indiana CASA is also a member of the National Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Association. Volunteers from local CASA programs in Indiana advocated for 10,883 abused and neglected children in 2005. Sadly, there were still 4,226 children on a waiting list for a CASA volunteer at the end of 2005 in Indiana, and 72 children waiting for a volunteer from the East Central Indiana CASA.
Right here in our community, the East Central Indiana CASA supported volunteers to work with 254 children last year, with many remarkable success stories. 62 volunteer advocates served these vulnerable children in 2005, but there is a tremendous need for additional volunteers.
East Central Indiana CASA recruits, trains and supports CASA volunteers as advocates to get to know the abused or neglected child and determine their needs and what is in the child’s best interest for their future. The CASA volunteer communicates this information about the child to the court so the child’s voice can be heard and so the child does not become “lost” in the system.
The CASA volunteer helps the child to understand what is going on in the case and provides a friendly face, support, stability, and consistency for the child during legal proceedings amidst a sea of unfamiliar people – including police, doctors, child welfare workers, and lawyers. By presenting the best interests of abused and neglected children to the court, advocates help judges to make better informed and more timely decisions about children so they can be returned home or placed in a safe and permanent home as quickly as possible.
In addition to speaking for the child in court, CASA volunteers assist children in other ways to recover from the situations that placed them in foster care – providing encouragement and support to enable them to lead healthy, productive lives. Advocates serve as role models to children who often have no one else to turn to. For example, many advocates assist with educational needs, encourage career interests, and develop meaningful relationships with their assigned children that have a lifelong impact on both the children and the volunteer.