There is still time to register for the spring session of Starke County CASA training for anyone interested in being the voice for a local child in need.
A “CASA” or a Court Appointed Special Advocate works with local children who have had abuse or neglect reported to the authorities. Starke County CASA Director Rhonda Adcock has been a CASA volunteer for 10 years and has served as Starke County’s director for 8 years.
Adcock reported that since becoming the director, she’s seen the number of cases in the county triple. While they have seen in increase in the amount of volunteers over the last few years, Adcock said this next class will be very important in helping eliminate the CASA waiting list in Starke County.
“We had kind of a long waiting list where children were waiting almost 6 months for a CASA,” Adcock explained, “We’re down now where they’re only waiting six weeks. With our next class, I feel like we will be at the point where as soon as a child needs a CASA they will get that CASA.”
Once applicants pass necessary interviews and background screenings, prospective volunteers attend 9 weeks of training. Adcock explained that some of that time is spent shadowing existing advocates at court hearings to apply the classroom lessons to real-world scenarios.
Director Adcock mentioned that aside from attending court, volunteers also spend time researching the needs of the child they’re assigned to. She said this can varying depending on the case.
For example, an advocate assigned to a health-related complaint may need to coordinate more with doctors and healthcare professionals, while others who receive notification of educational neglect may others may need to focus on communicating with teachers and school staff.
The spring training session is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, April 10th, so the latest date that an application can be submitted is Monday, April 9th. Individuals need to contact a CASA official to receive an application.
Director Adcock said she can be reached through the Starke County CASA Facebook page. Individuals can also contact the Starke County CASA office by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 574-772-7200.