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YOU CAN BE THE VOICE FOR A CHILD

OUR MISSION

The mission of the Crawford County CASA Program is to advocate for the best interests of neglected, abused, and exploited children and to provide these children with a strong, informed, and independent voice in the court process. With the goal of ensuring for each child a safe, permanent, nurturing home, the Crawford County CASA Program recruits, screens, trains, and supervises community volunteers to serve as court appointed advocates for these children.

children being served
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WHO WE ARE

We believe that all children have the right to a home with loving people to care for them. But each year in the United States, children are abused, neglected or abandoned by their families. They are removed from their homes and placed in foster care or institutions. Eventually, they end up in court. Their only “crime” is that they have been victims. It is up to the judge to decide their future. Should they remain in foster care? Be reunited with parents? Or be adopted? In these cases, many children also become victims a second time, lost in an overburdened child welfare system that cannot pay close attention to each child whose life is in its hands.

That’s where CASA comes in.

CASA volunteers are Court Appointed Special Advocates for children – trained community volunteers appointed by a judge as Officers of the court to speak up for children in court, and to help to humanize the often frightening and confusing child welfare and legal systems for these children.

OUR TEAM

The Crawford Circuit Court CASA Program was started in 2008. Since that time hundreds of children have been served by dozens of volunteers. Currently we have 11 volunteers who advocate for 48 children with open CHINS (Child in Need of Services) cases.

Volunteers stay with each case until it is closed and the child is placed in a safe, permanent home. For many abused children their CASA volunteer may be the one constant adult presence in their lives.

According to the National CASA Association, children from birth through age four were most likely to be maltreated and neglected compared to all other age groups.

Indiana CASA volunteers provide a voice for children in abuse/neglect cases and in termination cases. 84 out of 92 counties in Indiana currently have an active CASA program.

FAQ

What does CASA stand for?

CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate.

What makes the CASA program different?

CASA programs are the only volunteer organization directly connected to the court; volunteers are appointed and sworn in by a judge to speak for a child who would otherwise not be heard. As adults come and go in the lives of abused and neglected children, these children desperately need one adult to stay with them for the length of their court case–someone who develops knowledge of the child’s particular needs and may prevent a child from falling through the cracks of the system. This is what a CASA volunteer does.

Who are CASA volunteers?

CASA volunteers are compassionate, objective, self-motivated individuals from the community who are trained to speak on behalf of abused and neglected children. They come from all walks of life. About half of all CASA volunteers in the United States work full-time.

A Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer is a trained community member who is appointed by a judge to represent the best interests of abused and neglected children in court. Any person who wants to stand up for an abused or neglected child can be a CASA.

What is the role of a CASA volunteer?

A CASA volunteer provides a judge with objective information about the child to help the court make a sound decision about that child’s future. Each case is as unique as the child involved. The CASA volunteer forms an opinion as to what is in the best interest of the child for their future, such as being reunified with their parents, living with relatives, getting a permanent guardian or adoption. The CASA volunteer makes a recommendation on placement to the judge and follows through on the case until it is permanently resolved.

How does a CASA volunteer gather information about a case?

To prepare a recommendation, the CASA volunteer talks with the child, and may also speak to parents, family members, social workers, school officials, health providers and others who are knowledgeable about the child’s history. The CASA volunteer also reviews records pertaining to the child, including school records, medical records, case worker reports and other documents.

Is there a “typical” CASA volunteer?

No. CASA volunteers come from all walks of life and have a variety of professional, educational and ethnic backgrounds. Many volunteers work full-time, but others work part-time, stay at home or are retired. All are passionate and committed to helping abused and neglected children.

What do CASA volunteers do?

CASA volunteers visit the child, get to know the him or her and find out important information such as how the he or she is doing in placement, what kind of services are needed and how school is going. The CASA volunteer may also talk to professionals who are working on the case, to the child’s family and/or to the foster parents, teachers and possibly others. The volunteer will review important documents relating to the case, such as summaries of the parent’s progress in services. The volunteer then prepares a summary for the court about what they have learned about the child. In the report, the volunteer makes independent recommendations to the court about what should happen in the case in order to have the best outcome for the child—to keep the child safe, promote the child’s well-being and help the child to be able to return home or to have another safe and permanent home as quickly as possible. The volunteer also monitors the case plan and help make sure the plan is followed and serves the best interests of the child.

What about the child’s social worker?

The focus of the social worker, is on reunification of the whole family. Our focus is only on what is in the best interest of the child.

How effective are CASA Programs?

Research shows that children who have been assigned CASA volunteers tend to spend less time in the foster care system than those who do not have CASA volunteer. Judges have observed that children who have a CASA volunteer also have better chances of finding permanent homes. 99% of Indiana judges who use CASA volunteers agreed that CASA volunteers influence the court’s decisions regarding children. 98% of Indiana judges agreed that children and families are better served because of CASA volunteers.

How much time does it required to volunteer?

Each case is different. However, a typical volunteer spends 8-10 hours a month on a case.

How long does a CASA volunteer remain involved?

The volunteer continues until the case is resolved. One of the primary benefits of the CASA program is that, unlike case workers and others involved in the case, the CASA volunteer is often the only consistent adult who stays involved in the case from beginning to end; providing stability and continuity that is desperately needed.

Why do you need CASA volunteers if you have caseworkers and attorneys?

CASA volunteers play an entirely different role in the case. The volunteer is the only person whose sole job is to get to know the child and determine what is in his or her best interests. The caseworker’s main role is to work with the family and help them to complete services so that their children can be returned to a safe home. Caseworkers, attorneys and other professionals in the cases have many cases involving many families and children. CASA volunteers work with only a few children at a time, so they can have time to dedicate to getting to know the child and really finding out what they need and what would be best for the child’s future. Judges rely heavily on the information they receive from CASA volunteers who are charged with serving as the “eyes and ears” of the court.

What training is involved?

Each CASA volunteer receives a minimum of 30 hours of initial training, which takes place over several weeks and may include an e-learning (computer based) component. The training covers information on the role of the advocate, about child development and social issues affecting families, and a broad overview of Indiana law and the court process relating to child abuse and neglect cases. Professionals who are involved with the local court and child protective services are often part of the training. In addition, volunteers must complete 12 hours of in-service training annually, which is offered by the local programs, the State Office of CASA and the National CASA Association.

Is being a CASA volunteer the same as being a mentor?

CASA volunteers are appointed to children who have come to the attention of the juvenile court system due to abuse or neglect. Like a mentoring program, the CASA volunteer does develop a relationship with the child through frequent contact; however, the primary role of the CASA volunteer is to gather information about the child, write reports to the court and attend court hearings. The CASA program is not a mentoring program. The CASA volunteer does not go on social outings with the child or play an active role in the child’s day-to-day life. Instead, the CASA volunteer is involved with the child and the case while the child is in foster care, to help him or her during this difficult time to help have the best possible outcome. Once the case has ended, the CASA volunteer does not typically remain involved in the child’s life.

What are the requirements for becoming a CASA Volunteer?

Prospective volunteers must be at least 21 years of age, and undergo criminal and Child Protective Services background checks. Applicants are required to complete a volunteer application and a 30 hour training class (16 hr. class and 14 hr. independent study). Volunteers should have effective oral and written communication skills.

How do I become a volunteer with a local CASA program?

  1. You will need to complete an application with the program.
  2. You will interview with the director of the CASA program.
  3. Go through training.
  4. You can be sworn in as a CASA, and being case work!

GET INVOLVED

It’s our mission to be the voice of each abused or neglected child in Crawford County as their cause moves through the legal system. We need your help in advocating for the best interests of these children.

Join the cause of neglected children in Crawford County today.

LOCAL COMMUNITY RESOURCES

FOOD PANTRIES

  • Crawford County United Ministries
    602 W Plaza Drive
    Leavenworth, IN 47137
    812-739-2476
    Tue · 10 AM - 4 PM
  • Lincoln Hills UMC
    1598 W SR 64
    English, IN 47118
    812-338-2139
    1st & 3rd Sat/mo · 8 AM - 10 AM
  • Taswell Community Church
    125 Two Churches Rd
    Taswell, IN 47175
    812-631-2538
    3rd Tue/mo · 3 PM - Run Out
  • Dare to Care Mobile Food Bank · Crawford County, Indiana Outreach
    Corner of SR 237 and 5th Street (Old Town)
    English, IN 47118

    https://daretocare.org/


    2nd Sat/mo · 10 AM - 12 PM

FOOD ASSISTANCE

  • WIC
    6913 E SR 64
    Marengo, IN 47140
    812-365-2943
    Mon · 12 PM - 7 PM & Thu · 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM
    Nutritional counseling and food vouchers for families with children from 0-5 years of age.
  • Purdue Extension
    2803 S SR 66
    Marengo, IN 47140
    812-338-5466 · https://extension.purdue.edu/
    Mon · 12 PM - 7 PM & Thu · 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM
    Lessons on food preparation, food safety, nutrition, money management, best buys on limited budget, and My Pyramid.

HOUSING ASSISTANCE

Visit the Lincoln Hills Development Corporation at LHDC.org

HEALTH

  • Crawford County Health Department
    306 Oak Hill Dr
    English, IN 47118
    812-338-2302
    Mon · 8 AM - 4 PM & Tue · 8 AM - 6 PM & Thu · 8 AM - 6 PM & Fri · 8 AM - 4 PM
    Provides immunizations, health screenings, disease control, and medical equipment loan program.
  • Crawford County Family Health Care
    5604 White Oak Ln
    Marengo, IN 47140
    812-365-3221
    Mon-Fri · 8 AM - 5 PM
    Private healthcare provider
  • Patoka Family Health Care Center
    307 Indiana Ave
    English, IN 47118
    812-338-2924
    Mon · 8 AM - 6 PM & Tue-Thu · 8 AM - 5 PM & Fri · 8 AM - 3 PM
    Private healthcare provider

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HELP

  • Crisis Connection Hotline
    800-245-4580 · crisisconnectionsinc.org
    24/7
  • Hoosier Hills Pact
    888-883-1959
    24/7
  • Center for Women and Families
    877-803-7577
    24/7
  • Indiana Department of Child Services
    812-338-2701
    24/7
  • Crawford County Sheriff's Department
    812-338-2802 or 911
    24/7

DISASTER RELIEF

  • American Red Cross · Georgetown
    7477 SR 64
    Georgetown, IN 47122   Floyd County
    812-951-2288
    24/7 Emergency Line: 800-696-3873
    Disaster relief, youth services, health and safety education, military social services, blood collections, community service project
  • Salvation Army · New Albany
    2300 Green Valley Rd
    New Albany, IN 47150   Floyd County
    812-944-1018
    812-944-1018
    Food pantry, clothing, emergency lodging, disaster services, holiday assistance, emergency financial assistance.

SOLID WASTE & RECYCLING

  • Crawford County Solid Waste · English
    700 S Indiana Ave
    English, IN 47118
    Tue, Thu, Fri · 9 AM - 5 PM & Sat · 9 AM - 3 PM
  • Crawford County Solid Waste · Marengo
    5148 E State Rd 64
    Marengo, IN 47140
    Wed, Fri · 9 AM - 5 PM & Sat · 9 AM - 3 PM
  • Crawford County Solid Waste · Leavenworth
    498 E State Rd 62
    Leavenworth, IN 47137
    Thu · 9 AM - 5 PM & Sat · 9 AM - 3 PM

SENIORS

  • Older American Services
    800-258-8786
    Provides rides for 60 plus year olds or those on Medicaid.
  • Blue River Services
    800-654-5490
    Provides rides to and from medical appointments for a nominal fee.
  • Adult Protective Services
    800-992-6978 (24/7)
    The organization investigates reports of persons age 18 and over who cannot make informed decisions.
  • Older Americans Service Corporation
    800-258-8786
    Provide noon meals at senior centers, home delivered meals, transportation, homemaker services, attendant care, periodic travel, and sightseeing trips for senior citizens.
  • Leavenworth Senior Center
    529 St Rd 62 W
    Leavenworth, IN 47137
    812-739-2476
  • Marengo Senior Center
    522 S Sugar St
    Marengo, IN 47140
    812-365-2773
  • English Senior Center
    313 Indiana Ave
    English, IN 47118
    812-338-2144

VETERANS

  • Crawford County Veterans Service Office
    743 State Rd 64
    English, IN 47118
    812-338-3141
    Mon · 8 AM - 4 PM & Tue · 8 AM - 7 PM

EMPLOYMENT

  • Work One · Crawford County
    743 State Rd 64
    English, IN 47118
    812-620-6892
    Tue and Fri · 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM
    Placement services providing low income individuals with the opportunity and training for self-sufficiency.
  • Work One · Harrison County
    101 SR 62 W · Suite 104
    Corydon, IN 47118   Harrsion County
    (812) 620-6892
    Mon and Thu · 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM
    Placement services providing low income individuals with the opportunity and training for self-sufficiency.

Project Warm

LHDC and CASA are working together this winter to provide coats, hats, gloves, and blankets to Crawford County residents

September 2020 - February 2021

Call the Crawford County Resource Coordinator at 1-800-467-1435 ext. 554 to schedule an appointment.

Please wear a mask and practice social distancing.

743 State Road 64
English, IN 47118
First come, first serve

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