Nine newly trained Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteers were sworn in as officers of the court June 4 by Bartholomew County Juvenile Magistrate Heather Mollo.
These volunteers work directly with area victims of child abuse and neglect, guaranteeing that their needs are met, that their best interests are front and center, and that they return as quickly as possible to a safe, loving and permanent environment.
The new CASA volunteers who will help Bartholomew County children are Russell Warlick, Zhijun Zou, Ashley Harrison, Shujie Fang, Diane Jekel, Marcia Trapp, Kathy Trowbridge, Christie Smith and Jennifer Morlock.
Rick Scalf, community outreach coordinator for Advocates for Children, said a record number children being removed from their homes is putting more pressure on the system than ever and increasing the importance of volunteers. Advocates for Children has seen increases in its waiting list for all three counties its serves: Bartholomew, Decatur and Jennings. The children on these lists already have been removed from their homes but do not yet have an advocate speaking on their behalf.
Individuals interested in learning more about becoming a CASA volunteer or the upcoming training session can call Advocates for Children at 812-372-2808, or visit the agency online at apowerfulvoice.org.