New CASA volunteers participate in swearing-in ceremony

The Jackson County Guardian Ad Litem/Court Appointed Special Advocates program recently completed training for new volunteers to give a voice to the abused and neglected children of Jackson County.

In April, Jackson Superior Court II Judge Bruce A. MacTavish swore in six new CASA volunteers. They are Jessica Olsen, Karen Haas, Renee Taylor, Christina Barnett, Peggy Stark and Michelle Benefiel.

CASA volunteers are everyday citizens who advocate for the safety and well-being of children who have been removed from their homes due to parental abuse and neglect. They stand up for these children and change their lives.

CASA volunteers have helped more than 2 million children find safe, permanent homes, according to a news release from Deena Personett, program manager for Jackson County GAL/CASA.

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In Indiana in 2016, more than 4,000 trained volunteers from 82 counties advocated for 26,762 children involved in the court system due to abuse and neglect, Personett said.

While this has made a huge impact, more than 6,000 children were still waiting for someone to speak up for them at the end of 2016, she said.

Forty-nine Jackson County CASA volunteers currently are advocating for 110 children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse and neglect.

However, there are currently 41 children in Jackson County waiting to have someone give them a voice and help to ensure that they find a safe, permanent home as quickly as possible, Personett said.

If you can give five to 10 hours per month to help give a child a better life, you can be a CASA volunteer.

For information about becoming a volunteer, call 812-569-2598 or email [email protected].