CASA, American Legion form partnership

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The CEO of the national organization of Court Appointed Special Advocates met Monday with high ranking members of the American Legion's Child Welfare Foundation in Indianapolis and the foundation's board approved a resolution for a partnership between the two organizations two days later.
Next it will go before the American Legion's full membership in the fall, where it is expected to pass.
This could impact the GAL/CASA office in Indiana, where more than 4,000 Indiana children remain on a waiting list for advocates in cases that involve abuse and neglect. All children in Child in Need of Services, or CHINS, cases must be appointed a GAL/CASA according to state statute, which is likely why so many children are still in need of help.

While this resolution formalizes the relationship between the American Legion and National CASA, last year the foundation awarded National CASA a $46,000 grant for outreach efforts, which resulted in the Forgotten Children Campaign.

Many American Legion members are already involved with their local CASA programs to help children, including Frank West of Indiana, a CASA and American Legion member who referred to the waiting list and how important it is that more volunteers participate. He mentioned that in Grant County there are 159 unassigned CASA cases, and 26 volunteers for the CHINS in that county.

He volunteers as a CASA, he said, because the military teaches its members they have a social obligation and it's important to get involved at the local level. He added, "CASA volunteer work is self-rewarding because you can see the child's appreciation when you tell him you are there to represent his best interests, not his parents."

This partnership would further promote CASA efforts by encouraging other American Legion members to participate in their local CASAs, potentially reaching out to more than 14,000 American Legion posts worldwide, or about 2.6 million members, plus their families and friends.

Michael Piraino, chief executive officer of the National CASA Association based in Seattle, said that this partnership is unique due to the number of American Legion members and because they are so spread out around the country.

He is excited about the partnership because the current American Legion volunteers are already doing a good job, and they are easy to train and motivated to help.

For more information about local CASA programs, contact the Indiana CASA program. Information about the American Legion's Child Welfare Foundation is available on their site.

The April 15-28, 2009 edition of Indiana Lawyer included a story about the waiting list for CHINS cases in Indiana.


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  1. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.