Not many people know what it is to be a Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASA. Fewer even have heard of the CASA program. But CASA Volunteers serve a vital function in our court system. They represent to the court the needs and interests of children removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect. They offer hope to these children for a better home, and a better life.
The CASA program volunteers are just members of our community who are trained comprehensively about the courtroom procedures, social services, the juvenile justice system, as well as the special needs of abused and neglected children, and how to get those needs met by the system.
These volunteers, interview, write reports for the court, attend court hearings, and make regular visits to the children they represent. They work with DCS, family members, teachers, health care and other service providers to make sure that the children receive the help that they need.
“Our volunteers get to know the children and their life in order to make fact based recommendations to the judge for what’s in a child’s best interest,” said Sarah Fink, Director of Porter County CASA. “Our goal is to get children to a safe, permanent, and nurturing home as soon as possible.”
CASA representation gives children a better chance at breaking dysfunctional life cycles and becoming a healthy, contributing member of society. Porter County currently has almost 60 volunteers who have served close to 400 children this year. With an increase of close to 140% of children coming through the courts over the last five years, there is a waiting list for children to receive CASA representation. Clearly, the need is great for even more caring volunteers to help these children.
Being a part of the CASA program can be a life-changing experience that makes our community a better place. CASA volunteers represent what it means to be good citizens because they are helping those that cannot help themselves. As we enter the holiday season, consider CASA if you are looking for a meaningful volunteer opportunity and want to do something positive about the prospective futures for abused or neglected children in Porter County.
Valparaiso, IN 46383
Visit CASA - Court Appointed Special Advocates Partner Profile