Seven Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteers gathered at the Bartholomew County Courthouse recently to be sworn in.

The new volunteers are: Audrey Ogle, Jeffry Ludlow, Deanna Railing, Susan Rust, Alicia Copeland-Utt, LuAnn Davis and Christopher Sparks.

They had completed a 36-hour training curriculum, and prepared to step into their roles as advocates for area victims of child abuse and neglect.

CASA volunteers serve as the eyes and ears of the court, making recommendations about what is in the best interest of the children they serve, and give those children a voice during their time in the child protection system.

The seven volunteers sworn in represent the latest of more than 100 CASA volunteers supervised by Advocates for Children in Bartholomew, Decatur, and Jennings counties. By October of this year, the agency had already served 737 children in the region, a 24 percent increase over the same period in 2015.

However, 300 abused and neglected children remain on the waiting list in need of advocates.

With those children in mind, the agency is currently preparing the next training session, scheduled to begin in January. Individuals interested in learning more about joining the session and becoming a CASA volunteer can visit the website, apowerfulvoice.org, or call the office at 877-604-9402.