CASA Program seeking volunteer advocates

Monday, September 9, 2013

Putnam County is no different from the many counties in Indiana struggling to keep up with the growing number of abused and neglected children flooding our courts and the local Department of Child Services.

Each week the court and DCS are faced with the overwhelming responsibility to keep these children safe, but the courts also realize that children thrown into the legal system need their own special voice.

The Putnam County Youth Development Commission CASA Program, known nationally as CASA, has been given the mandate to provide well-trained competent volunteers with objectivity and commitment to serve as a voice for these children.

The main responsibility of CASA volunteers is to invest their time and energy to know the needs and wants of the child they represent. The CASA volunteer strives to make sure that each child is in a safe, permanent home, and that the child's best interest is sought by all individuals involved in the child's life.

The CASA volunteer represents the child's interests in all court proceedings.

CASA volunteers receive 30 hours of training in courtroom procedure, child development and the juvenile justice system. Volunteers are given training in the general operations of the Indiana Department of Child Services, the state agency mandated to investigate the calls of suspected abuse and neglect of our local children.

Research shows children with advocates are more likely to be placed with relatives, receive more services or be reunited with parents and spend less time in foster care.

CASA Director Patti Harmless of the Youth Development Commission is accepting applications for the Sept. 28 training sessions. To learn more about becoming a CASA volunteer, please the agency at 653-9342 for an informational packet, application and interview or email for more information.

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