Starke County is in need of more volunteers to serve as Court Appointed Special Advocates. Executive Director Rhonda Adcock says a passion for helping children is a must.
CASA’s are appointed by the court to advocate for a child who has come into the system as a result of either abuse or neglect.
“They do whatever the child needs. They will go in, investigate the child’s life, see what their needs are, and then advocate for that child to the people around the child, but most importantly to the court,” Adcock said.
The CASA’s recommendations carry quite a bit of weight with the judge. Adcock adds children come into the court system for various reasons.
“In 85 percent of the cases in Starke County there’s a drug component to the case. So maybe they came into the system because their home was dirty, and by dirty I mean not fit for human habitation. And maybe they come to the court because the house is dirty, and that’s considered neglect, and you find out the parents have a drug problem, and they’re not mentally or emotionally there to clean the home and take care of the children.”
Adcock says in other instances children wind up in the court system after their parents are arrested because there is nobody else to care for them.
“On occasion there’s medical neglect, some of which could be neglect and some of it could be parents are just wrapped up in their own lives trying to do the best they can, and then their child’s needs get put on the back burner. Sometimes there’s drug manufacturing in the home, and we do have a few cases of physical abuse.”
CASA volunteers spend between five and 15 hours a month advocating for the children in their care. The next CASA Volunteer training sessions begin on March 21st. All will be scheduled in the evenings. Call 574-772-7200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.