The Indiana Child Advocates Network is a network of volunteer programs across the state that empowers everyday citizens to become officers of the court, serving as advocates for abused and neglected children in foster care. Volunteers get involved at the local level with a program in their county, but have the support of state and national organizations.
There are programs in 78 counties throughout Indiana that are part of the Indiana Child Advocates Network. All volunteers are coordinated and supported through these programs. These programs are a partnership of the court and the community to help children who would otherwise have no voice. Each program is unique, reflecting its relationship with the local courts, government and the community.
Staff members recruit, train and support volunteers to advocate for, or speak on behalf of, abused and neglected children in court. The professional staff provides initial and ongoing training to the volunteers. The initial 30 hour training is a nationally-designed and tested training developed by the National CASA Association. Volunteers are supervised and supported throughout their cases.
Indiana State Office of GAL/CASA
The Indiana State Office of GAL/CASA is part of the Indiana Supreme Court, Office of Judicial Administration. It provides funding to local programs, and certifies that programs follow the Supreme Court’s Program Standards and Code of Ethics for GAL/CASA programs. The State Office also provides leadership, direction and support to local programs in the Indiana Child Advocates Network so ultimately every child can be appointed a trained volunteer to help them through the court process and on to a better life.
The State Office offers a variety of assistance to local programs including the facilitating quality training, providing technical assistance and opportunities for networking and sharing information, collection and compiling statistics and data to support and educate the public about the Indiana Child Advocates Network and a statewide, collaborative initiative to recruit more volunteers.
The GAL/CASA Advisory Commission, which includes program directors and judges appointed by the Indiana Supreme Court, provides guidance to the State Office of GAL/CASA. The Advisory Commission assists the State Office with strategic planning, setting goals and objectives for the statewide network, and revising program standards and a code of ethics, which are required for certification. The commission also has several active committees including the legislative, best practices/policies and public relations committees.
Role of the National CASA Association
The National CASA Association offers critical leadership and support to provide quality advocacy and lead the continued growth of the CASA network. Some of their specific activities:
- Training & Curriculum: New, research-based training opportunities, such as an e-learning series on educational advocacy continuous improvements to the core volunteer training curriculum.
- Technical Assistance: Extensive technical support to help programs serve more children more effectively.
- Volunteer Recruitment and Public Awareness: Coordinates national campaigns to help recruit CASA volunteers and raise awareness about child abuse.
- Resource Development and Grants: Provide funding to local and state GAL/CASA programs primarily from the Department of Justice, but also from private corporations and foundations.