Advocates for Children recently welcomed 8 new Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) volunteers who will serve cases in Decatur and Jennings counties.
The volunteers gathered with their friends and family, as well as staff from Advocates for Children, in the Jennings County Courthouse, where Jennings County Circuit Court Judge Jon Webster administered the oath of office. First, however, he made a point of praising the advocates for their decision to step up, and encouraged them to actively engage with their work.
As CASA volunteers, these individuals work on cases involving the victims of child abuse and neglect, and work to make sure that the best interest of these children is always the top priority facing the court. Recent spikes in the number of cases of heroin and methamphetamine abuse by parents in the region have led to record numbers of children entering the protection system, and Advocates for Children faces a waiting list of over 100 children.
"These volunteers make a world of difference for the children they serve," said the program's Executive Director, Therese Miller. "They help to fulfill the promise that every child deserves a safe and loving home in which to thrive. If it weren't for our CASA volunteers, many of these cases could stretch on, with vital details being overlooked."
Statistics show that having a CASA volunteer involved in a case can have a profound impact on the children being served. According to the National CASA Association, a child with a CASA volunteer is more likely to find a permanent home, more likely to succeed in school, and half as likely to re-enter the foster care system.