There are many ways to give back to the Evansville community, but perhaps one of the most rewarding ways is through the Vanderburgh County CASA program. These Court Appointed Special Advocates serve an important role in our community, aiding children in need of support. Learn more about the program and find out how you can sign up to be a CASA volunteer!
What is a CASA volunteer?
The Vanderburgh County CASA is a program in which volunteers represent abused or neglected children in Juvenile Court. There volunteers are tasked with researching each child’s case and conducting an independent assessment of the child’s needs and communicating those to the Court to ensure the child’s legal rights are protected. CASA volunteers are everyday citizens who undergo screening and training with their local program. Locally, there are over 141 volunteers who represent more than 1,230 kids.
How was CASA started?
CASA, which stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate, began in Seattle, Washington in the early 1970s. Some version of the program now exists in every state in the United States. Currently, 85 of Indiana’s 92 counties offer a CASA program. In the early 1980s, former Juvenile Court Judge Robert Lensing appointed a special community task force to research and study the need for child-centered advocacy in his court and after consideration, the task force recommended the establishment of a program that advocated for abused and neglected children in the community and thus the Vanderburgh County CASA program was born in 1984.
How do I sign up?
Interested volunteers can fill out this form on the Vanderburgh County CASA website. Potential volunteers must be at least 21 years old, have a minimum of a high school diploma, a clean criminal history, a completed screening interview with CASA staff, and complete 30 hours of pre-service training and 12 hours of in-service per year. The most important qualification is the desire to help children, as they will be the voice of an abused or neglected child.