2016 CASA Day at the Statehouse a Tremendous Success

The Statehouse Atrium was filled with more than more than 300 CASA Directors and Volunteers for the 2016 CASA Day at the Statehouse. The attendees gathered to speak with their legislators and provide a voice for the more than 5,000 abused and neglected children who are currently awaiting a voice in court. CASA supporters also urged their legislators to allocate further funding necessary for local programs to handle increasing caseloads as a result of Indiana’s widespread drug crisis.

Prior to the event at the Statehouse, the standing-room only group met to thank Senator Carlin Yoder for his tireless efforts on behalf of the statewide CASA program, including advocating for a $2.1 million budget increase to provide trainers and supervisors for local programs. Since Senator Yoder was retiring from the Senate to raise two children adopted from the foster care system, the state program directors presented him with a plaque, thanking him for his years of service to the CASA program and the lives of the children he has touched through his efforts.

The assembly at the Statehouse began with an address by Chief Justice Loretta Rush. A former juvenile court judge in Tippecanoe County, the Chief Justice assisted with the creation of the county’s CASA program. She has continued her support of the program, highlighting the State Program in her State of the Judiciary. The Chief Justice thanked the volunteer for the important work they do every day in the trenches representing our children.

Governor Mike Pence also addressed the assembly, joined by his mother, Nancy Pence-Fritsch, who was a CASA volunteer for 4 years in Bartholomew County.  The Governor praised the group, saying, “It’s not about dollars and cents, it’s about each one of you. Three thousand CASA volunteers in 78 Indiana counties that are making the kind of difference that can change lives. That’s how we define success; not through dollars and cents and statistics, but through lives that can be helped through difficult challenges, mentor along the pathway to achieve their dreams and to achieve our hope for every one of them.”

CASA volunteers are trained advocates who speak for the best interests of abused and neglected children in court, helping to ensure children’s needs are met while they are in foster care and that these children have a safe and permanent home as quickly as possible.

Indiana has one of the largest and most respected networks of local CASA programs in the nation, but the more than 30% increase in child abuse and neglect cases have resulted in a 26% increase on the state’s CASA waitlist.

If you are interested in becoming a CASA volunteer to help those children in need of a voice in court please contact the State Office of GAL/CASA at 800-542-0813, or visit our website at www.casa,IN.gov.

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