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CASA group to receive national diversity award

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The National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association announced Thursday afternoon that it will honor Indianapolis-based Child Advocates Inc. with the National CASA Inclusion Award at their 30th Annual National CASA Conference in Chicago on March 20.

The award recognizes Child Advocates’ efforts in recruiting more diverse volunteers and staff and for training volunteers on issues of racial disparity among the children they serve. To do this, the organization partnered with the juvenile court in Marion County and others to adopt and implement an in-depth inclusiveness and diversity plan.

According to a release from the National CASA Association, since Child Advocates implemented its plan, the number of African-American volunteers has doubled, the organization has added 16 African-American staff members to full- and part-time positions, and it has reduced the waiting list for children in Marion County, many of whom are African-American, by more than 600.

“We are proud of the passion for child advocacy and equality from our local and state chapters across the country,” said Michael Piraino, CEO of the National CASA Association, in a statement. “Child Advocates exemplifies what it means to be truly inclusive, and (is) dedicated to the well-being of children of all backgrounds.”

“Child Advocates is addressing a relevant and widespread issue head on, and is seeing positive results,” said Indiana State Director of CASA Leslie Dunn in a statement. “The program is being awarded for its dedication to bringing advocacy to every abused and neglected child.”

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