Letter to the Editor

CASA needs your help

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

To the editor:

My wife Jeanne and I are volunteering for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) to help children in need in the court system, and we'd like to encourage you to do the same. It was our great honor for Supreme Court Chief Justice Randall Shepard, Governor Daniels, legislators, and CASA leaders to announce the formation of the IRTA/CASA partnership in October 2007. The goal of the partnership is to recruit IRTA members to volunteer for the CASA program. As President of the Indiana Retired Teachers Association, I am leading by example and serving as a CASA volunteer.

CASA volunteers undergo a thorough training program, and my wife and I will complete our training this month. In the training, we've learned about courtroom procedure from judges, lawyers, social workers and others.

We've learned effective advocacy techniques for children, and we've been educated about specific topics ranging from seminars on child sexual abuse to discussions on early childhood development and adolescent behavior. After completion of the training, we will be sworn in as Officers of the Court.

This will give us the legal authority to conduct research on a child's situation and submit reports to the court.

Indiana has one of the largest and strongest CASA networks of any state. Children in 65 of Indiana's 92 counties were served by 1,940 volunteers in 2005. Sadly, in those counties with programs, at least 4,226 children were on a waiting list for a volunteer at the end of 2005.

Clearly there is a great need for more help. If you are interested in serving, you may obtain further information at www.in.gov/judiciary/galcasa or call 800-542-0813.

IRTA has consistently promoted volunteerism for our members in local communities. In fact, IRTA members have volunteered over one million hours during each of the last three consecutive years.

My wife and I have joined numerous other IRTA members to volunteer for CASA. Won't you consider joining us in this critical effort to help children in need?

Eugene Wease,

IRTA president

and CASA volunteer