New Training to Begin in January
Several newly trained Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteers were sworn in by Bartholomew County Juvenile Magistrate Heather Mollo as officers of the court on Wednesday evening.
As CASA volunteers, these committed individuals will serve as the eyes and ears of the court, working directly with area victims of child abuse and neglect, guaranteeing that their needs are met, that their best interests are front and center, and that they return as quickly as possible to a safe, loving and permanent environment.
As she prepared to administer the oath, Judge Mollo spoke to the necessity of volunteers like the ones before her.
"I do not think I exaggerate," Mollo said to the new CASA volunteers, "in saying that your work has never been more important."
The judge noted that only a year ago, Indiana had 15,000 children in foster care, while this year that number had risen dramatically, with reports ranging from 19,500 children to as many as 21,000.
Advocates for Children has seen accompanying increases in their waiting list in all three counties they serve - Bartholomew, Decatur, and Jennings. The children on these lists have already been removed from their homes, but do not yet an advocate speaking on their behalf.
To place advocates with as many of these children as possible, Advocates for Children is already planning the next training class, which will begin in January.
Individuals interested in learning more about becoming a CASA volunteer or the upcoming training session are urged to call Advocates for Children at (812) 372-2808, or sign up online.