Scott County Chamber of Commerce
Court Appointed Special Advocates, better known as CASA, was started in 1977 when a judge realized that abused and neglected children rarely had anyone speak on their behalf in the courts. Volunteers were trained to gather facts and be the voice for children in the courtroom. Locally, Scott County’s CASA was established in 2007 through the efforts of Judge Roger Duvall. He swore in the first class of five CASA volunteers on December 6, 2007. CASA is led by Executive Director Kelly Shelhamer, who oversees six full and part-time staff, as well as 25 volunteers.
According to the Indiana Youth Institute’s Kids Count data, Scott County is number one in the state for the child abuse and neglect rate and has more than twice the number of children in foster care compared to the state average. While this is a staggering statistic, it confirms the need for CASA and its volunteers. In the last three years, CASA has made great strides to increase the served number of abused and/or neglected children who were waiting for a CASA to be their voice in court. Unfortunately, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, they have seen an increase in the rate of children coming into the system from 2019. So far this year, CASA has served 246 children and has 72 on their wait list. They have helped 75 children find permanent placements. There have been 130 new children in the foster care system so far this year! And not only was there an increase in children in need of an advocate, but some of the volunteers are no longer able to serve due to the pandemic. The pandemic has hindered CASA’s ability to recruit new volunteers and they also had to cancel their major fundraiser, Taste of Scott County.
CASA is a vital program that advocates for our most vulnerable children during times of crisis in their lives. You can help these children get into loving, permanent homes where they can grow into healthy, productive adults!! CASA of Scott County established an endowment fund at the Community Foundation in June 2019 – you can donate to this fund or to their Rally for the Children Campaign (they are currently hosting an online Facebook auction). Help bring a voice and hope to every Scott County child in care. #FundFriday #LookingForwardGivingBack #loveforcommunity #makingadifference
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