CASA conference to train, honor volunteers

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A single mother of two from Monroe County will receive the honor of volunteer of the year this weekend at an annual conference of court-appointed special advocates.

Marissa Reed chose to volunteer to advocate for abused and neglected children and accepted challenging cases including one involving a terminally ill child. Reed assisted and supported the family and helped with decisions from child care to funeral arrangements, according to Monroe Circuit Judge Stephen Galvin, who nominated Reed.

An estimated 600 volunteers are expected to gather Saturday for the 17th annual conference of the Indiana Supreme Court’s State Office of Court-Appointed Advocates. The event is from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Wyndham Indianapolis West, 2544 Executive Drive, Indianapolis.

Author and child-welfare consultant Charlie Appelstein is the keynote speaker. Session topics will include advocating for infants, understanding poverty, working with difficult parents, trauma informed care, domestic violence, and sex-abuse accommodation syndrome.

CASA programs operate in 78 of Indiana’s 92 counties. More than 3,400 volunteers advocated for about 18,000 abused and neglected children in state care in 2012, according to the court, but another 2,000 children need advocates. More information is available at  



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