DECATUR COUNTY — There are three new court-appointed special advocates for children in Decatur County.
The Columbus, Indiana-based organization Advocates for Children recently welcomed Becca Cavin, Tim Campbell and Fran Campbell to their team of volunteers. They are now known as Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASA volunteers.
The three volunteers were sworn in by Bartholomew County Juvenile Court Magistrate Judge Heather Mollo.
They will be assigned to cases in Decatur County.
According to Advocates for Children, they provide volunteer advocates who are appointed by a judge to represent the best interest of abused and neglected children in order to ensure that every child has the opportunity to thrive in a safe, loving, and permanent home and to grow up in a “forever family.”
More information can be found by visiting www.apowerfulvoice.org.
Advocates for Children Community Outreach Coordinator Grace Kestler said CASA volunteers are a powerful voice in the life of a child, and volunteers work directly with children and families to ensure the children’s needs are met for long-term safety and success. Volunteers are direct advocates for the children, ensuring they don’t “slip through the cracks” of the system.
Kestler said these volunteers attended in-depth training on how to be the voice for abused and neglected children, ensuring that they find safe, loving and permanent homes.
“Our volunteers are really important to us because they each focus on one specific case, and they can really recommend what’s in the best interest of a child,” Kestler said.
Kestler also made sure to mention they are always looking to build their team.
“We’re always looking for more volunteers,” Kestler said. “There could always be more time put into cases.”
The outreach coordinator gave a brief synopsis of how to become a volunteer, and the important roles they have.
“Volunteers have to apply, go through an interview, go through a background check and training done at our location here in Columbus” Kestler said. “A volunteer’s job is to understand the cases, the child’s story, and to see how they’re doing. They will also visit the child and see how they are doing. They will also reach out to anyone who may have an impact on that child.”
Kestler also said CASA volunteers provide information and extend recommendations to the judge.
“Volunteers have a big role,” Kestler said.
Those interested in becoming a volunteer can begin the application process by visiting the organization’s website.
Kestler said they offer training sessions quarterly, and the next available session is being offered in September.
To learn more about becoming a volunteer, those interested can call 877-604-9402 or 812-372-2808.